Batteries Out of Juice? Drones to Feed Off of Powers Lines

Flying drones created by MIT researchers recharge on power lines instead of returning to a base.
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Flying drones created by MIT researchers recharge on power lines instead of returning to a base.
mit drone

Photo Credit: MIT

Researchers from MIT have designed flying drones that can recharge on power lines instead of returning back to a base. Fleets of drones are capable of amazing things, from performance art to heavy lifting. Their only limitation is what happens when their batteries run out — they fly back to a base to power up again. 

The researchers were inspired by birds when designing the fixed-wing drones that can perch on the thin wire of power lines. PSFK notes that the drones use the magnetic field from power lines to target their destination. They then perform a rapid stalling maneuver to slow their speed and hook themselves onto the line. 

The technology would allow drones of all types to work for hours and recharge on the fly. Unlike humans, they would theoretically not need any downtime when performing tasks like making deliveries, monitoring environmental conditions or aiding in search and rescue missions. 

See how MIT's new drones would work in the video below. 

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