WiBotic is a startup company that offers a wireless charging station called PowerPad for nearly any drone. Their PowerPad works similar to a wireless phone charger, but it is meant to be used for agriculture, security, mining and construction purposes. This type of technology is already being tested in Australia where burrito delivering drones use a wireless drone charging station while on standby. Wibotic’s PowerPad is meant for one drone, but their technology is scalable for fleets of drones.
How Does Wireless Drone Charging Work?
The fully autonomous and weatherproof charging station automatically charges drones when they land on the PowerPad. The PowerPad itself has an intelligent transmitter circuit board and a wireless power antennae (coil) to transmit wireless charge. All a drone needs is an onboard charger and a receiver coil to receive wireless charge. The PowerPad also offers live battery analysis to a user thanks to a built-in Ethernet port. The PowerPad’s charging capabilities can be adjusted for fast charging for back-to-back missions or overnight charging to preserve a battery’s lifespan.
How Efficient is Wireless Drone Charging?
According to a Wibotic YouTube interview by Latest Leaders, wireless drone charging offers 70%-80% efficiency compared to a wired charged. Ben Waters, CEO and co-founder of Wibotic, stated in an article from GeekWire that it takes “one to two hours for the 100-watt PowerPad to provide a full charge to a drone ranging up to the size of a DJI Inspire.”
About the Company
Wibotic is a two-year-old startup company out of the University of Washington in Seattle. The PowerPad is a patent-pending product, which took five years to develop from the Electrical Engineering Department. Wibotic offers their wireless charging stations for more than just drones. Currently, they are working with companies in professional cinematography, factory automation, medical, oil, gas, marine biology and autonomous underwater vehicles.
Benefits of Wireless Drone Charging
Other companies like Atlas Dynamics have stations that can automatically change a single drone’s battery, but wireless drone charging has its benefits. Wibotic’s technology offers battery monitoring analysis, and the company’s wireless drone charging can be used for multiple drones in the future. This can be useful for swarm drone technology where groups of drones can charge while waiting for the next flight. Wireless drone charging can reduce maintenance costs in the long run, especially when a company is dealing with several drones.