WiBotic PowerPad brings wireless charging to drones

Drones are getting more sophisticated with each generation, but even the most advanced models still have one major limitation: battery life. All of those intelligent sensors and camera tech consume power, while at the same time battery capacity and weight have to be well-balanced, resulting in typical flight times of around 20 minutes.

If that's not enough for your application you have to land the drone, swap the battery and take off again. But while that might be doable (if annoying) when using the drone for filming, in other applications, such as surveying, security or construction it can be even more of a cost factor than in photography.

That's where the WiBotic PowerPad wireless charging pad for drones comes in.

The PowerPad is a three-foot by three-foot landing pad with integrated wireless charging equipment that, according to its makers, is capable of charging almost any drone. The platform is also weather-resistant, making it suitable for permanent installation and use with drones that run automated flights on a regular basis.

The most basic use is simply as a landing pad that charges your personal drone, but for industrial use it can be use in other, more creative ways. For example, the PowerPad doubles as a waypoint on long-distance flights, allowing drones to land and recharge at intermediate points on their path.

No information on pricing and availability has been released just yet, but we're sure frequent drone operators would love a a closer look at this one.

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At that distance from the induction coil (you’d have to install in the drone) the efficiency loss would be 75% or more as opposed to just 30%.

Oct 25, 2017
(unknown member)

Do they have a bigger pad so I can charge my electric car? That would be fabulous!

Oct 25, 2017
Sheldon Steele

Watch it take 20 minutes to charge 1% of the battery.

Oct 24, 2017
Ronald TW

install solar panel and charge while flyiingggggg

Oct 24, 2017
Solar Ben

The power generating ability of solar panels is very small compared to the capacity of lipo batteries. For example take a drone battery with a capacity of 5000mAh. A 6"x6" solar panel of sufficient voltage might supply 100mA on a sunny day. This means it would take 50 hours to charge the lipo battery from empty. So if a drone uses 4000mA in 20 minutes, installing solar panels on a drone might be able to increase the flight time by about 15 seconds on a sunny day.

Oct 24, 2017*
John Koch

Instead of putting a drone on a charging pad, wouldn't it be quicker and less immobilizing to swap the drone's battery, so it can fly while the first battery is re-charging? This would also be a faster way to keep an eCar on the road too.

Any charger must, at some point, be wired to a power source.

Oct 24, 2017

it is more practical to equip drone nests with an automatic battery swap dock

land - swap batteries- fly away

Oct 24, 2017

Too niche. I haven't heard of autonomous drones requiring such capability. They'd see more success with wireless charging an electric car for those who doesn't travel long distances everyday.

Oct 23, 2017

The onboard charger will take a toll on the flight time endurance, the smaller the drone, the bigger the toll and the drone still has to land for charging, no matter how fast or slow that charging process might be.

Maybe this is usefull for some industrial, autonomous operations where the UAV might be programmed for automatic flight/charging cycles but on every other use I can think of, landing the UAV and swapping batteries is the most efficient way to use the device for what the operator purchased it for: Flying.

Oct 23, 2017*

Wake me when there's air-to-air refueling.

Oct 23, 2017
Franz Weber
Franz Weber

This could be useful for my DJI Spark as it suffers from short flight times

Oct 23, 2017
Bobo Hodls
Bobo Hodls

[chuckle] v.Funny!

Oct 23, 2017