StoreDote from Tel Aviv announced an automated charging station fully-charging a commercial drone in five minutes. This ultra-fast charging (UFC) wireless station designed to charge drones using StoreDot FlashBattery technology. It overcomes two major barriers disturbing the drone industry: the need for a “man-in-the-loop” to replace battery packs between missions, and restrictions on where charging stations can be located.
Today, it takes between 60-90 minutes to charge a commercial drone, with full charge giving a flight time of approximately 30 minutes. As a result, drones spend far longer in the charging station that in operation. To overcome this problem, additional batteries must be purchased and swapped out between flights. This costly process also requires a ‘man-in-the-loop’ to replace the batteries, making drones operations less autonomous.
The need for a person to be involved in the charging process also limits the range of operation and demands locating charging stations at easily accessible locations. This means that drones currently have to spend much of their limited flight time travelling to and from the nearest charging point, greatly reducing their operational efficiency. It also restricts the use of drones in harsh or dangerous terrains – often where they could bring the greatest benefits.
Dr. Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot, said that by reducing battery charging time to just 5 minutes and eliminating the need for human intervention, fully-autonomous drone operation is finally being made a reality. “Drones will now be able to spend much more of their valuable flight time engaged in actual missions.”
StoreDot uses organic compounds synthesized in its labs, to produce its instant-charging battery – FlashBattery. The technology is based on novel materials replacing the active graphite with metalloids such as Silicon, combined with proprietary organic compounds that protect the active materials during fast charge. While LiBs are aimed at increasing battery capacity, StoreDot has taken a new approach and redesigned an entirely new Li-ion battery structure in order to tackle the need for frequent charging.