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Drones for inspection of overhead power lines with recharge function

: Bögel, Gerd vom; Cousin, Linda; Iversen, Nicolai; Ebeid, Emad Samuel Malki; Hennig, Andreas


Trost, Andrej (Hrsg.) ; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-:
23rd Euromicro Conference on Digital System Design, DSD 2020. Proceedings : 26 - 28 August 2020, Kranj, Slovenia, virtual
Los Alamitos, Calif.: IEEE Computer Society Conference Publishing Services (CPS), 2020
ISBN: 978-1-7281-9535-3
ISBN: 978-1-7281-9536-0
Conference on Digital System Design (DSD) <23, 2020, Online>
European Commission EC
H2020; 861111; Drones4Safety
Inspection Drones for Ensuring Safety in Transport Infrastructures
Fraunhofer IMS ()
energy harvesting; inductive harvesting; MPP-Tracking; infrastructure inspection; self-charging drones

In recent years drones have proven their ability to solve complex tasks autonomously and effectively. Drones have not been present as a ubiquitous technology for solving these tasks yet. The reason is mainly due to their limited flying time. The technology has great market potential in many areas if flight time could be increased. However, only a few solutions for recharging are available, but none for recharging on power lines. This remains a research topic for now. Through this paper a novel energy harvesting design is presented based on inductive coupling, allowing a drone to grasp and perch onto an overhead power line to recharge its batteries. The overall electronic design was based on analyzing and simulating different current transformers in simulation before testing in the laboratory. The split-core including windings was integrated into a gripping mechanism, verified by analytical and numerical analysis as well as non-destructive and destructive testing. The results indicate that enough power can be harvested from the powerline to recharge the drone batteries. The theoretically achievable power was also found to be within the expected range. With this design, drones can solve time-consuming and complex tasks in the future.