Top 3 Endurance Drone Flight Solutions

When it comes to real life industrial applications for UAV’s, battery life is the enemy. From solar panel wings to autonomous charging stations – already new solutions are being adopted to find the perfect endurance drone flight solutions.

Drones provide the perfect solution for a variety of surveillance and mapping missions, particularly where the area being surveyed could be dangerous for humans.

Recording the growth and lethality of a forest fire takes time, the UAV must not only run a few laps of the affected area but also monitor its situation constantly for any change. When considering the normal battery life of commercial drones is lucky to be more than 30 minutes, in most cases a total re-think on the design of these units needs to occur. Here are our choices for the top 3 most innovative endurance drone flight solutions:

1. Autonomous Charging Station: SkySense

The remotely controlled or autonomous charging station by SkySense is the ultimate solution for an autonomous surveillance set up. There is never a need for human interference if the UAV can perform missions and recharge autonomously. Autonomous charging stations could be installed on construction sites, professional office blocks or international borders to assist airborne units in surveillance and mapping missions. In the future of integrated smart cities where drones provide a multitude of services these charging stations could be made publicly accessible for all local UAVs.  

2. Light Gasoline Powered UAV: The Jungle Hawk Owl

This propelled glider UAV is the result of a US Navy commission for a permanently airborne, solar powered drone. The MIT engineers quickly realised solar power was not a reliable solution and created a model powered by gasoline that is capable of a 5 day flight. The Jungle Hawk Owl is designed to provide network connection to affected areas just after a natural disaster. In the video above you can see the engineers test a smaller model with less fuel for a shorter flight time. 

3. Solar Paneled Unit: Atlantik Solar

The Atlantik Solar drone successfully completed an 81 hour flight covering a total of 2338km, the drones primary purpose is to complete the first ever autonomous solar powered crossing of the Atlantic ocean.

The Airbus Zephyr 7 currently holds the world record for longest ever UAV flight at 14 days.

Although they require an excessive amount of room to both take off and land, for long surveillance missions, fixed wing UAV’s are the only realistic solution. Returning to base stations every 15-30 minutes in the middle of a forest fire or flood surveillance to recharge multi rotor drones is highly impractical. However, the idea of a mobile charging base station does have its value in a controlled environment.

Unmanned Life is currently delivering the initial stage of an autonomous sorting centre pilot with Prime Vision and Post NL. Although this stage of the demonstration involves only UGV’s our recent partnership and demo with BT, Ericsson and Saguna confirmed our ability to deploy autonomous air units to also be involved in the sorting centre. This development opens up the door for a potential mobile base station in the future, enabling a 24/7 operational autonomous workforce both in the air and on the ground.

Follow our journey as we branch out and deliver our Autonomous Drones-as-a-Service for multiple industrial applications. If you would like to request you own demo for your business please send us a message here: