Report: Chinese researchers develop Laser-Based drone charger - M5 Dergi
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Report: Chinese researchers develop Laser-Based drone charger

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Chinese researchers recently tested a laser-based drone charging system capable of keeping the platform aloft “forever.”

The system involves firing a ground-based laser beam at a flying drone fitted with a photoelectric conversion module that converts light energy into electricity, South China Morning Post explained, citing a report by Northwestern Polytechnical University researchers.

‘Intelligent Vision Tracking System’

The system consists of an intelligent visual tracking algorithm that allows it to precisely trace a flying target.

“Highlights of the research are [a] 24-hour intelligent vision tracking system and the autonomous long-range energy replenishment for optics-driven drones,” the outlet reported.

The team carried out three field tests: indoor, outdoor day flight, and outdoor night flight.

Technology to Maintain Beam Intensity

The challenge was to develop a tracking system amenable to “illumination, scale and rotation” that could withstand environmental variance, according to the South China Morning Post.

To maintain beam intensity and density at long range, the researchers used “adaptive beam shaping technology” that autonomously adjusts the laser’s intensity.

The technology protects the beam from air erosion, improving its long-distance effectiveness and reliability.

The system is also equipped with a “protection algorithm” that automatically adjusts the “laser power to a safe range once an obstacle is detected in the beam’s path.”

Dual-Use Technology

The system’s range and photoelectric conversion efficiency were not disclosed. However, an illustration presented in the report reveals an optics-driven drone flying as high as a skyscraper.

The ground-to-air charging system could potentially enhance the range and effectiveness of a drone swarm along with other non-military applications.

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