It has been a century ago that mankind has achieved that air fueling technology, and the air charge technology simply state that a technology for increasing the range and running time of the aircraft by injecting fuel into another or several aircraft (or helicopter) over the air. The technology was first applied to the military field.
With the rapid development of aerial photo drone(ADP) in recent years, it has been widely used in military and civilian fields, especially in the field of civil, the aerial photo drone is used from driving away herd cattle to the crowd control. But there is a clear obstacle to progress - most drones face limited endurance.
Now a docking system that was put forward is expected to change the dilemma it faces, which can make the aerial camera drone
docking in midair and supplies, as now many ways adopted by the military aircraft.
Just last week, however, the U.S. navy's x-47b had a highly successful experiment, which became the world's first unmanned aerial refueling drone.
Wilson said, their team using an ever-existing drone which is highly improved by them to do the experiments. In the experiment, it can achieve an hour battery life. The research team at the university of Sydney spent years developing the technology, which allows the drone to refuel or recharge when it is in the air.
The principle of this system mainly relies on the GPS, inertial of highly coordinated motion sensors and infrared technology of the two drones -- a pilot and a following aerial photo drone-- the fuel or power transmission of them needs a "refueling" tube.
The pilot drone is dragging a cone-shaped "refueling" tube and passing the sensor data on it. Using this data, the following drone are trying to follow the pilot drone and fly to the exact location. Once it is ready, the drone will dock with the aircraft's head cone and the "refueling" tube, completing the aerial refueling or recharging.
According to Wilson, it is very difficult to complete the docking phase accurately, especially since the two drones and refueling tubes are very lightweight and will continue to be affected by wind and turbulence. So in the short term, the system may be more likely to fuel the military's larger drones. As for commercial grade drones
, it is advisable to fly back for a battery.