Automatic charging station for commercial drones

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
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Master's Programme in Mechanical Engineering (MEC)
73 + 13
Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, have taken the customer market by a storm in the last few years. Recent estimates foresee the demand to increase and the commercial side to be next. Even though the commercial side drones are better equipped, they also lack in the same aspect as the consumer drones: short flight times. In order to enable automatic operation in various environments the problem with short flight times and constant battery changing has to be solved. This study concentrates on investigating the methods that are available for automatic drone charging. Many research, and commercial methods are available, out of which the most promising are investigated further: contact charging, wireless charging and battery swapping. As the aim of the study is to develop a concept of a drone charging station for Nokia, all three methods are compared and graded depending on the requirements set for the system. Most notable requirement of the charging station is to solve the flight time related factor of the drone. This leads to the fact, that a single charging station should be able to charge and supply autonomous and constant operation for two drones. The charging time sets the power requirements of the system, which ultimately results as the most critical requirement of the system. As result of the comparison, contact charging was selected as the charging station development method. A charging station that allowed charging drones though its legs was developed, and a logic port circuit was created. The developed charging station was created as such, that a drone is capable of landing in any orientation. The main aspects of the concept were prototyped, and charging was tested though the system. As such, the charging station provided autonomous charging for drones with minimal internal power losses.
Tammi, Kari
Thesis advisor
Vuorio, Jaakko
automatic charging station, drone, contact charging, wireless charging, logic circuit, charging polarity
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