The US military is looking to build an autonomous shipping system that can support hundreds of drones, as a four-year research project has been funded with the ultimate goal of equipping ground vehicles with charging stations that drone squadrons can fly to on their own.
The University of Illinois at Chicago has won a contract worth $ 8 million from the Army’s Research Laboratory of the Combat Capacity Development Command, and researchers will work on a system that enables small drones to locate the closest charging station, travel there and restore activity before returning to their mission. Provides algorithms to help drones determine the best shipping port route.
Dr Mike Coyon, director of the Tactical Force and Basic Propulsion Research Program at the Army Research Laboratory, said in a press release: “Imagine in the future the Army will deploy a squadron of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems, each of these systems having approximately only 26 minutes with the technologies. The current batteries for a flight mission and returning home before they lose battery power, which means that it is possible to envision them all simultaneously to replace their batteries.
Without charging stations, soldiers would need to carry thousands of batteries with them on missions, which is really not a viable option, and the use of an autonomous recharging system may also mean that soldiers will not have to manually swap the batteries, freeing them to perform other tasks.
Army-funded researchers will also develop small fuel-level sensors for larger drones.This will allow future drones that can partially run on gasoline to detect if fuel is running out, according to DroneDJ, and the devices can then return to the base for refueling or Recharge before running out of juice.
Kuyun added, “This research is important not only for aerial vehicles but also for ground vehicles, especially for army missions, and the fuel sensor tells the operator what kind of fuel is being delivered from the fuel tank to the engine, and this input signal can be used to intelligently tell the engine to adjust the engine control parameters according to the type Fuel to avoid any malfunctions, and this data can also be used to find root cause failures should any engine component fail prematurely. ”
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