February 25, 2015
Solace Power, a small Canadian startup, has developed a technology that wirelessly charges unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) while still in flight. The company has a standing partnership with Boeing and recently secured government funding from Industry Canada to help facilitate the technology for military drones. The technology, which could effectively eliminate the need to physically charge a drone while on land, works using energy transmitters that communicate to receivers attached to the UAVs.
Solace’s technology is based on Nikola Tesla’s early wireless power experiments involving resonant capacitive coupling. According to TechCrunch, “this type of wireless charging tech allows for flexibility when it comes to the size and shape of the receiver drawing power, as well as more freedom when it comes to aligning the transmitter and receiver for proper power transmission from point A to B.”
For a drone to charge wirelessly, it must simply hover over a designated charging area. “This could mean less overall inactive time for fleets of commercial, agricultural or industrial drones, since they can incorporate brief runs over charging surfaces into their flight plans to keep them airborne,” notes TechCrunch.
Solace also licenses its tech to various other industries, where it could help charge products like electric cars and battery-powered military gear.
The company’s recent partnership with Industry Canada, an official government-investing department, is to further advance the technology to become of practical use for the military.