Research fellow of Innopolis University will enable multicopters to fly 24/7

Igor Danilov, researcher at the Laboratory of Intelligent Robotic Systems of Innopolis University received a grant worth 300,000 Rub. for development of his project on autonomous battery swapping in drones without human intervention.

Research fellow of Innopolis University will enable multicopters to fly 24/7

Today multicopters are normally used for monitoring or surveying and delivery of small-size loads for short distances. However, the field of application is constantly expanding. So far, there are projects focused on using of drones in emergency medicine, agriculture and farming, journalism, surveillance, urban traffic control etc.

The key problem of modern drones consists in a limited battery performance. Igor Danilov, research fellow of Innopolis University has found a way to significantly increase operating time of a multicopter.

At Territoria Smyslov, Russian Education Forum for Young People, Igor presented his project on Automatic Battery Swapping System for Drones. The presentation took place as part of the competition Konveyer Proektov (Conveyer of Projects) with over 160 high-technology projects submitted.

"Today human-controlled multicopters have to land and recharge batteries every 30-40 minutes. Our system will allow a multicopter to find a basic station and swap out the empty battery without human intervention in order to take off again. The entire procedure takes only one minute. So far, there are several similar systems worldwide, but our solution will be more cost-efficient" - commented Igor Danilov, the project author.

The battery operation scheme is quite simple: once the drone lands on a movable landing platform, the latter slides inside the warm compartment containing a set of ready-for-use batteries. The discharged battery is pushed out and replaced with the charged one. After that the landing platform slides back outside, thus allowing the copter to take off.

According to Igor, the project has been developed in detail that is why experts and the jury had no questions to the author, except for recommendations on system integration and search of potential investors. The project of Innopolis University joined the list of 45 finalists and received a RUB 300,000 grant.

Besides the inventor, the project team consists of two people i.e. an engineer who designs a land-based platform and battery compartment, and a ROS-programmer (Robotics Operation System), developing algorithms for processing of data obtained from sensors and adjusting the multicopter's position during landing. The team is looking for a software engineer who will develop a land-based platform controller.

Despite its success in a grant competition, the project group is still challenged with the funding issue. According to the team, the estimated cost of the project is 4.5 million rubles. Igor Danilov assures that the required funding will allow to deliver a properly functioning system in 12 months.

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