For some time now, the topic of "autonomously flying drones" has become increasingly important. All over the world new companies are being founded to advance the technology. Two events in particular give the topic a special boost:
- In January 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration, US aviation regulators, approved the first fully autonomous commercial drone flights. A Massachusetts-based company was given permission to operate drones without hands-on control or direct observation by a pilot. This represents a first step in overcoming the legal hurdles and is therefore extremely important for further development.
- In the spring of 2019, DHL Express and the drone manufacturer EHang entered into a partnership to test autonomous parcel delivery in metropolitan areas via drones . This application represents a potential mass market and could revolutionize an entire industry.
An important and necessary component of autonomously flying drone-in-a-box systems (DIB) is the charging box. In the following, I will use four typical properties of these systems to show why igus® products are predestined for use in DIB boxes.
1. Outdoor use
Drone-in-a-box systems are mostly used outside. Typical areas of application are security flights, inspections or logistics. As a result, the systems are permanently exposed to rainwater, solar radiation and dirt. igus® products are ideally suited for these conditions since highly engineered plastics are corrosion-resistant, which means rain doesn't affect an igus® system as easily, and are much more resistant to dirt than recirculating ball bearings.
2. Autonomous system
Autonomously flying drones are required to work "alone" for long periods of time. igus® products are ideal for use in these kind of systems because they are self-lubricating and dry-running. iglide® bearings and drylin® linear bearings and slides don't require any external lubricants and are maintenance-free.
3. Easy transportation
To flexibly change where DIBs are used, many approaches rely on a transportable system. igus® products support this goal by being designed with lightweight plastic and aluminum. In addition, many products, such as the drylin® N series, are specially designed for tight installation spaces.
4. Smaller companies
Many companies that are currently establishing themselves in the drone-in-a-box market are start-ups. Those types of small businesses typically have limited personnel structure and manpower. With a very broad portfolio, igus® offers companies the opportunity to get many products and the associated advice from a single source. igus® can supply motors, linear drives, controls, cables and cable carriers that are coordinated with one another. This saves a start-up massive coordination capacities and interface management.