Company Offering New Battery Chargers For Small Drones

By Vivienne Machi

Photo: Defense Dept.

Delta-Q — a Vancouver, Canada-based industrial battery charger company — has begun developing lithium ion-based battery chargers that can help small drones operate for longer periods of time, said a company executive.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are being used for a slew of purposes including public safety, construction, mining, surveillance or last-mile deliveries. That means “they need longer run times … which means higher battery capacity,” said Rod Dayrit, company director of business development for North America.

Lithium ion-based chargers can help power small drones that weigh less than 11 pounds, he added.

Delta-Q recently unveiled its new ICL Series chargers, which are high-frequency, low-power devices. The ICL1200 and ICL1500 models provide 1,200 watts and 1,500 watts, respectively, according to the company. Both come in 85 volt and 120 volt models.

The chargers can communicate with “smart” batteries currently being employed by the UAV industry via the battery management system. These systems use artificial intelligence to correspond with the system controller and check on vital parameters such as the battery’s performance, safety and state of health, according to the company.

The battery and charger are able to communicate and observe factors such as ambient temperature conditions to adjust the charging elements accordingly, Dayrit added.

There is also a big push to use lithium-ion batteries for UAVs that perform vertical takeoff and landing, he noted. “If you go electric, it’s a lot less weight than going to a full combustion engine” for these types of platforms, he said. The conversion is more power efficient as well, he added.

Delta-Q currently supplies battery charging systems for global manufacturers of electric golf carts, lift trucks, aerial work platforms, and motorcycles and scooters. The company is in discussions with industry partners about incorporating its technology into small UAVs for the U.S. military and other defense organizations, but no deals have been signed yet, Dayrit said.

“We’re working with several companies, both on the commercial and defense side, and looking for opportunities,” he said. “The plans are there.

Topics: Global Defense Market, Robotics, Robotics and Autonomous Systems

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