Company, StoreDot Creating Fast Charge Batteries for Drones, Allowing a Full Charge in Just 5 Minutes

Drones have become one of the fastest growing fields of technology over the past few years. Improvements in design, weight, and capabilities have led to drones that are easy to use and inexpensive. Today, almost anyone can buy and operate a drone of some kind. Toy drones can run as low as $5, while higher end recreational drones can still be purchased for less than $1,000. Even the prices of commercial grade drones have dropped. These drones are coming with high definition cameras and sensors and opening up a world of possibilities for users. But, if you ask any drone operator what one of the biggest flaws any drone may have, chances are they will tell you the limited flight time.

Simply put, a drone’s flight time is relative to its weight. The heavier the drone, the heavier the battery needs to be. The goal is to create a drone that is light and agile, which means smaller batteries need to be used. The average flight time for a drone is 20-30 minutes. Smaller drones, like the micro drones used in light drone shows, can only fly for about 10-20 minutes. To compensate for this, drone pilots keep backup batteries on hand. For many drone pilots, this is nothing more than a slight inconvenience. Usually, the batteries are easy to swap out, and the drone can be back in the air in a matter of minutes. However, short flight times is one of the main hindrances limiting drones in the capacity of delivery or any long distance missions.

Right now, the next logical progression for the drone market is to be able to use drones as delivery vehicles. Many communities have already begun trials of how drones can be used to deliver goods like medical supplies, food, and small necessities. The drones being used for such deliveries are only traveling short distances, the last mile or so of the delivery route. Another area in which experts wish to see longer flight times is drones used by emergency or inspection crews. For a drone being used in an emergency situation, where every second counts, taking time out to swap a battery is less than ideal. Meanwhile, operators can only use drones to inspect miles of pipes or powerlines, or vast agricultural fields in small ranges before needing to change batteries.

Granted, for all of the above listed scenarios to work BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) regulations need to be passed by the FAA first. As drones are being made with more precise detect and avoidance sensors, BVLOS is slowly becoming available. So now it is just time for the batteries to catch up to the demands of flight time. A company based out of Herzeliya, Israel has developed a drone battery that can charge in just 5 minutes. Founded in 2012 by CEO Doron Myerdorf, StoreDot develops batteries that can be charged up to 12 times faster than typical li-ion batteries.

Combining innovative synthetic and organic materials, StoreDot’s batteries outperform many on the market. As stated on the company website, “Designed to replace known technologies by means of enhanced physical, chemical, electrical and optical properties, StoreDot’s technology, inspired by nature, can be optimized for multiple industries, including fast-charging batteries for mobile devices and electric vehicles.” In June of 2018, StoreDot received a $20 million investment from the energy giant BP to see to the development of fast charging batteries for mobile devices, electric vehicles, and drones.

On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, StoreDot released a demonstration on its newest battery charging platform for drones. StoreDot says that by using their battery system, there is no longer the need to have a person waste time by exchanging batteries or the tedious 60 minutes wait a typical drone battery takes to fully recharge. This means that drones spend more time charging than they actually spend in the air, a system that negates their effectiveness. StoreDot’s answer is to have charging stations distributed along a drone’s flight plan. When needed, the drone lands in the charging station, and after just 5 minutes it is fully recharged.

As StoreDot explains, being able to fully charge drones in 5 minutes opens them up to achieve their greatest potential. The lag in delivery, inspection, and monitoring times is drastically minimized. And in the wake of the restrictions placed on societies from COVID-19, the ability to have drones with near continuous flight times has become more important than ever. As related in StoreDot’s presentation, “The StoreDot solution enables: Automatic, ultra-fast charging with minimum downtime, maximum flight time productivity, and eliminates the need for the man in the loop.” We live in a world that increasingly relies on technology, but sometimes the technology has yet to reach the level needed to exceed our expectations. With rapid charging drones, these expectations can be met.

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