Murky FAA regulations could be limiting commercial adoption of drones, but the real challenge may be limited battery life.
That’s why Qualcomm Inc.’s QCOM, -0.97% investment in Skysense Inc. — a company building a charging infrastructure for drones — is a big deal.
To better understand how batteries can cap the use of drones, one has to get a sense of how the devices are used. Most drones have a flight time of about 15-25 minutes, which means typical enterprise usage like mapping a large field or inspecting a spread-out area — think a pipeline or oil rig — is impractical.
To combat that, Skysense created a “Droneport,” a hangar that allows drones to charge and wirelessly transfer data back to the operator. The Droneport is solar-powered and can be placed anywhere, such as in various locations around a field, to recharge any equipped drone through wires that make direct contact with the hangar.
With that technology, an operator could deploy a drone on a regular pre-programmed flight, and never touch it again. The drone would be programmed to land at the charging station and send back the data before its next flight.