Glimpse of future: Drone recharge atop streetlights

Glimpse of future: Drone recharge atop streetlights

As part of the ambitious Smart Cities Mission, the researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have designed charging ports for drones atop streetlights.

Battery backup is a major challenge that drones are facing at the moment. The technical team working at the Robert Bosch Centre, IISC, has addressed this problem. Now, drones can skip returning to base stations or crash landing once the batteries are drained.

The innovation is the brainchild of Dr Ashish V Joglekar, a technical staff at the Robert Bosch Centre. Joglekar, along with the assistance of Vishwas Navada, designed the charging ports, which will be installed on top of streetlight poles.

At the recent IISc Open Day, the team demonstrated how the system works. “When the battery is about to be exhausted, drones will search for the nearest charging port installed on streetlight poles. Drones can independently search for the nearest port using GPS and can home in,” Joglekar told DH.

This will initially cater to online shopping platforms, planning to deliver merchandise using drones, where battery backup is the prime concern. A drone low on battery will complete charging within an hour.

“We are working on reducing the charging time,” said Vishwas Navada adding that the facility will serve many other purposes than just product delivery.”

The team is to hold talks with concerned authorities like the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and power generators bodies to bring in norms and specifications for the ports.

“We are expecting norms to be passed on the mode of drone landing assistance, types of drones that can have the feature, safety and charging capability,” Joglekar further added.