Drone Startups part 10: Skysense
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Multirotors and fixed wing drones are being used for precision farming, land monitoring and industrial inspection. Limited capacity of batteries and high costs of field operators constitute a severe limitation in operations that could be highly automated.
Skysense, a Berlin based startup, is trying to solve that issue in a very innovative manner. Instead of developing better batteries, they are developing charging pads and drone hangars.
Charging pad is a robust, waterproof aluminium plate, with a wide landing area, that enables wireless battery charging. It is very thin, only 1.5 inches (less than 4 cm) and very light, 4 pounds (less than 2 kg).
The charging pad can charge batteries as fast as a regular charging cable, and it supports nearly all existing multirotor and VTOL drones.
Skysense hangar is another product in development, and it is supposed to store and charge UAV between the flights. It is a protective structure that includes charging pad, it is remotely managed, and it provides syncing of collected data between the UAV and the cloud data storage.
Construction, mining, oil & gas, solar & wind and other industries are already using drones for land surveying and inspection, but operation of these industrial UAV requires a human operator. Skysense is a step into direction of fully automated drone operation. In that sense, it is somewhat similar to the Skycatch, another startup that is targeting the same market. The difference is that Skykatch enables automation through battery swapping, where Skysense does the same through wireless recharging. And while Skycatch enables almost instant operation of the drone, Skysense trades off speed of recharging for significantly less moving parts, theoretically improving reliability.
Which concept will be winning, we will see in coming years. At the end it might be something in between, like swapping the batteries, while enabling their wireless recharge.
Images courtesy of Skysense.