Igor Danilov, researcher at the Laboratory of Intelligent Robotic Systems of Innopolis University is working on a project on autonomous battery swapping in drones without human intervention.
Today multicopters are normally used for monitoring or surveying and delivery of small-size loads for short distances. However, the field of application is constantly expanding. So far, there are projects focused on using of drones in emergency medicine, agriculture and farming, journalism, surveillance etc.
The key problem of modern drones consists in a limited battery performance. Igor Danilov, research fellow of Innopolis University has found a way to significantly increase operating time of a multicopter.
"Multicopter can find a landing site and swap out the empty battery without human intervention using a special station. The entire procedure takes only one minute. The station will contain up to 10 batteries at once, each one is charged within two hours. In case of human-controlled multicopters, they have to land and recharge batteries every 30-40 minutes. Our system will enable around-the-clock autonomous landing and quick battery swapping in order to take off again," - commented Igor Danilov, the project author.
Besides the inventor, the project team consists of two people i.e. an engineer who designs a land-based platform and battery compartment, and a ROS-programmer (Robotics Operation System), developing algorithms for processing of data obtained from sensors and adjusting the multicopter's position during landing. The team is looking for a software engineer who will develop a land-based platform controller.
Despite its success in a grant competition, the project group is still challenged with the funding issue. According to the team, the estimated cost of the project is 4.5 million rubles. Igor Danilov assures that the required funding will allow to deliver a properly functioning system in 12 months.