Attachment drone technology gives an idea of the evolving accounts for new generations of flying machines.
A Japanese engineering company, Fukaden Corporation, is enabling a humanitarian effort by providing power to mobile communications base stations designed in their tethered drones. These lightweight, portable drones can be deployed by first responders to provide near-instant communication capabilities.
Fukaden demonstrates its main Power Control BOX II power supply, which delivers energy via tether to the drone. It allows 1 kW of power to be delivered up to 150 m.
Also, power can be scaled by using units in parallel to triple power up to 3 kW, providing cellular service up to 10 km in diameter.
Historically, the disadvantage of tethered drones has been the thickness and weight of the power cord. The long and heavy cable adds weight, creating more resistance, which requires more power, and limits the ability to add new drone features, such as sensors or high-resolution cameras.
Fukaden drones require 1kW to 5kW and increasing the power supply from 24V to 370V reduces the supply current by 15x. This allows for a thinner teter cable, which reduces the weight of a 1kW cable for tying by more than 10x, from 125g to 11.1g per meter.
370V operation requires a lighter, high-density DCDC conversion module in the drone to reduce power to 24V for the drive motor. The original design of the converter was heavy and required too much space. So, the company replaced the converter with a Vicor DCM power supply module.
Vicor DCM is an isolated DCDC converter module that uses high frequency, zero voltage (ZVS) switching technology and is characterized by high conversion efficiency and high output power density. DCM reduced volume by 75 percent and weight by more than 50 percent.