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Lasers will soon make Drones to fly forever in the air – Drone that never Lands

Chinese researchers have developed a technique to keep drones in the air forever by using high-energy laser beams, according to a report from South China Morning Post.

Drone technology has enabled to simplify the method of doing and magnify the efficiency of a process that has served profitable in fields of photography, online-delivery, disaster relief programs and more. Albeit, a hurdle for the drone-tech since its commence is its short time of flight where drones can only stay up in the sky for between 24 to 28 minutes. This limits the flying device to perform its fullest at a stretch.

Probing for ways to extend the maximum time of flight, researchers have leveraged this laser tech for the purpose. Though high-power laser systems are catalysts to anti-drone technologies, professor Li Xuelong and colleagues from Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) approached a method that will downturn the earlier credence.

Laser-Powered Drones

The plot involved here is simple. The team of researchers designed such a drone that will convert light energy into electricity and by beaming high-energy laser, the drone on air can be charged remotely, making the flight unconstrained by time.

Researchers have fitted photoelectric conversion module on the drone for the purpose of conversion from light to electricity. And for tracking the drone in order to beam the laser sharply on it, the team experimented optics-driven drones (ODD), during which they tested the automated charging process that tracks the drones during flight.

A specific tracking algorithm was developed by the team that helped to track the drones during flight and it worked even in different conditions of light and weather, the team claim. Also, an adaptive beam-shaping technology enabled the laser beam to automatically adjust its intensity over distance of wireless transmission. The beam can also modify accordingly if an obstacle crosses the way of laser.

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Applications of Ever-flying Drones

The report states that allowing the drones to fly for an undefined time could be used in instances of disaster reliefs, search and rescue missions and traffic and security patrols.

The research could also be beneficial for classified military applications and a few more farfetched potentials. The research claims to assist the development of a “low-altitude satellite” or “artificial moon” to mimic the effects of moon on earth.

However, few barriers such as massive amounts of energy required for high-energy laser beams, effectiveness of the protection algorithm and potential danger of beaming high laser beams across open spaces – pull the tech to not fly anytime in the near future.

(For more such interesting technology and innovative detailing, keep reading The Inner Detail).

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