Increasing drone flight times

27th April 2016
Joe Bush

The battery is the beating heart of a drone. The performance of the battery is the key factor in determining the drone’s range and how much payload it can carry – particularly relevant when you consider the delivery applications envisaged for drones by the likes of Amazon and Google.

In military, commercial and industrial environments there is a need for drones or UAVs to have longer operating times and more capabilities while at the same time maintaining performance and reliability. To increase the flight time of drones and reduce the size and weight of the battery, South Korean company Kokam has developed a new battery with an energy density of 265Wh/kg (compared to typical drone battery energy density of between 150 and 200Wh/kg). Kokam even claim that Tesla’s battery has 20% less energy density.

Kokam’s energy battery solutions are based on the company’s Ultra High Energy Nikel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) battery technology and the energy density of 265Wh/kg enables military, commercial and industrial UAV manufacturers to pack more energy into their solutions.

Ike Hong, Vice President of Kokam’s Power Solutions Division commented: “Military, commercial and industrial customers want unmanned systems with longer operating times and more capabilities, without sacrificing reliability or performance. Kokam’s new Ultra High Energy NMC battery solutions meet this need, allowing manufacturers to store more energy in their unmanned systems and extend their operating times, or shrink the battery size and add more components.”

Kokam’s new cells are available in capacities ranging from 10Ah to 240Ah, and can be purchased as individual cells, in packs or as complete systems. The battery solutions are available in a variety of standard sizes and weights, and can also customise the size of a cell, pack or system.

Kokam’s technology was employed on the Trimble UX5 Unmanned Aircraft System, which was used to capture data at Machu Picchu in Peru, one of the world’s most important archaeological sites and is one of the seven modern wonders of the world. The data was used by the many organisations that govern and preserve the site to monitor the location and analyse the impact of factors like severe weather conditions and increasing levels of tourism.

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