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Automated Recharging Station for Swarm of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

[+] Author Affiliations
Jeremie Leonard, Samer Aldhaher, Al Savvaris

Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK

Antonios Tsourdos

Cranfield University, Shrivenham, Swindon, UK

Paper No. IMECE2012-88246, pp. 607-614; 8 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2012-88246
From:
  • ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 1: Advances in Aerospace Technology
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 9–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4517-2
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME

abstract

Automated maintenance has become a necessity for UAV systems to allow human operators to concentrate on higher-level tasks. By reducing the need for a human interaction, such systems could be set to function in remote environments for an extended period of time and take care of a higher number of vehicles. This paper describes the work carried out to design, test and construct an autonomous charging station for battery-powered quadrotors. In the effort to fit swarm behaviors, the focus has been to shorten the charging phase of a single quadrotor platform. By designing safer electrical contacts and adding a cell balancer to the system, the station can supply considerably more current to charge the vehicle’s battery. Once the vehicle has landed, voltage and current probes transmit the current state-of-charge to a controller for optimum charging cycle. To support even more applications, the system was equipped with the capability of wireless power transfer. Energy is transferred from a power transmitter in the docking station to a power receiver on-board the vehicle based on resonant inductive coupling. Minimizing the internal losses of the DC/AC inverter and AC/DC rectifier in the transmitter and receiver will allow for higher power levels to be transmitted and will maximize the efficiency.

With the continuous monitoring of the process and the advanced charging technologies allowing for a balanced high-current charge, the Flying/Charging ratio of the vehicle could reach 1.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME

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