WiBotic this week introduced the Commander software it has developed to control autonomous charging of electric batteries using the company’s wireless charging devices and manage the energy needs of autonomous vehicles, including aircraft. In the first instance, Commander’s introduction into the aviation sector is expected to be with smaller drones, but the Seattle-based company says the technology could be applied to larger eVTOL aircraft.
According to WiBotic, Commander allows operators to have a complete picture of the charge levels in the batteries used by their fleet. This can help them to place chargers where they are most needed. To better predict problems and avoid operational delays, the system also gives an alert if any batteries are not recharging correctly.
WiBotic business development vice president Matt Carlson told FutureFlight that Commander can gather data from either transmitters located throughout the operator's facility or onboard chargers. "Over time we plan to expand those data-gathering capabilities so we can collect other information directly from the vehicle, from its battery, or from other types of charging stations that may be deployed across the fleet," he explained.
The company explained that users can adjust charge voltage and speed based on when vehicles need to be ready. For example, operators could program their batteries to be charged more slowly at night when their aircraft are not flying.
Commander includes a feature that allows batteries to automatically discover and connect with the transmitters on the charging units, avoiding the need for a manual setup. The system can be used with multiple battery types, generating data to show which type and make are performing the best.