Gear | October 21, 2016 9:00 am

This Drone Recharges on the Fly, Literally

Amazing mini-copter can hover indefinitely

As we all know, nothing kills the momentum of a road trip like having to make a pit stop for gas and, as those of us who’ve flown one are finding out, a similar issue ruins many a drone flight.

To let pilots fly drones for longer time periods, researchers at Imperial College London wanted to build an electric ’copter that could maintain its juice level better than the Mott’s factory.

What they ended up with is a drone that can stay airborne forever … at a height of four inches.

Using a wireless inductive coupling system that allows two coils to swap power without touching physically, the ICL’s quadcopter can hover indefinitely while it’s directly over a power source.

Though not particularly useful yet, the technology in the drone has far-reaching applications.

“In the future, we may be able to use drones to re-charge science equipment on Mars, increasing the lifetime of these billion dollar missions,” according to ICL Electronic Engineering Professor Paul Mitcheson.“Another application could include implantable miniature diagnostic medical devices, wirelessly powered from a source external to the body.”

If neither of those options excite you, a third one, a perpetually charged smartphone, should.