Autonomous wireless charging boosts drones and industrial robots

Autonomous wireless charging boosts drones and industrial robots

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

WiBotic in the US is using a high-efficiency power module from Vicor for an autonomous wireless charging system to boost the performance of drones and robots  

The power module neutralizes thermal management constraints, enabling an adaptive-matching transmitter for any battery, any robot and any station.

As robotic fleets combine different kinds of autonomous systems from drones to industrial automated ground vehicles (AGVs), the demand for more efficient and flexible charging solutions is increasing. The WiBotic autonomous wireless charging systems support “many-to-many” operation, where multiple robots from different manufacturers)can charge from the same transmitter at different times. Alternatively, an entire fleet of robots can move between a network of transmitters in different locations within a warehouse. This allows any robot can charge from any station, even if the robots have different battery chemistries, voltages and charging current requirements.  

The autonomous wireless charging design uses Vicor’s 48V VI Chip PRM Regulator 400W high-efficiency DC-DC converter that operates from a 36 – 75V input to generate a regulated output. The device powers the adaptive matching transmitter onboard the WiBotic TR-110 wireless charging station, which feeds power wirelessly to the robot’s or UV’s onboard receiver.

The PRM accepts 48V from an AC-DC power supply and the output voltage is adaptively controlled and trimmed from approximately 20 – 55V.

This supports high-efficiency conversion across the full range of impedances from different robots, as well as ‘full charge’ and ‘trickle charge’ modes with no significant drop-off in efficiency at lower power levels. The efficiency provides a consistent maximum device temperature of 40 to 45°C for the wireless charger, helping to neutralize thermal management constraints across the full power range.;

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