The problem with the vast majority of drones is that they don’t last particularly long in the air. For regular users, it might not be that big of a deal, but when it comes to military usage, battery life could pose a bigger problem as it could affect things like surveillance missions and so on, but that’s something the US Army wants to change.
To that extent, they have funded a four-year research project in which they have awarded an $8 million contract to the University of Illinois Chicago. This project will see researchers work on a system that can autonomously charge drones, where there could be charging stations setup at various locations, and drones will be able to search for the nearest one and automatically fly there to recharge when it is low on battery.
While this doesn’t exactly solve the short battery life on drones, the fact that these drones can automatically seek out the nearest charging station means that soldiers won’t need to manually charge drones nor carry about battery packs, thus lessening their load and freeing up time to do other things.
What’s interesting about this project is that Amazon has actually conceived of something similar. Back in 2017, a patent was discovered where Amazon envisioned a possible drone hive where drones could be deployed from and return to.