Imagine a world where drones never have to touch the ground after takeoff. That’s what MIT PhD. candidate Joseph Moore did, and now he’s on the cusp of creating a drone that can “perch” on power lines just like birds to recharge its batteries.
Mr. Moore gave Business Insider a demonstration of the technology he’s perfecting by using a glider as proof of concept.
In short, if a drone is equipped with the a magnetometer it should be possible to make the aircraft capable of identifying magnetic fields given off by power lines, home in on the signal they emit, and then maneuver in such a way that would allow the drone to perch until fully charged.
Developing such a system for fixed wing aircraft is desirable because of their ability to carry heavier loads than those that use a quadrotor design, Business Insider reported.
During the demo it was given by Mr. Moore, Business Insider reported that the glider, even without a fully-developed perching mechanism, was able to come “within centimeters” of a mock power line.
Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/9/prepare-drones-perch-power-lines-recharge-never-ha/