The commercial sector of the drone market is expected to reach $13 billion by 2020, meaning it will have become the market’s fastest growing segment. Drones aren’t toys anymore; many companies are clearly cashing in.
However, if you represent one of those companies, then you’ve likely run into some challenges as well. Specifically, drone batteries can be dangerous – both to your employees and your company’s bottom line.
Technology has come to the rescue with the introduction of Venom’s Commercial Series line of drone batteries. These “smart” batteries, manufactured by Vertical Partners West (VPW), include an onboard battery charging maintenance system that helps you efficiently maintain your fleet.
Why Do You Need a Charging and Battery Maintenance System (CBMS)?
VPW’s built-in charging and battery maintenance system features 12C and CAN bus flight controller interfacing to give you real-time control over key battery diagnostics for the complete life of the smart battery pack. The CBMS provides 8MB of built-in EEPROM data capture for early fault detection to increase battery safety.
In addition to early fault detection, these advanced smart batteries help you prevent battery failure. The system monitors and transmits live data like use metrics, fault settings (both predefined and user-adjustable), and battery lockout protocols. You’ll benefit from knowing that your fleet is operating on reliable, self-reporting batteries.
Venom’s Commercial Series batteries are among the safest on the market and are tested to UN38.3, IEC 62133-2, and FCC by MET laboratories, and ASTM F3005-14A.
When you’re confident that your batteries are performing at optimal levels, you’re able to focus your attention on other critical details. Venom’s built-in Battery Charging and Maintenance System captures and stores KPIs like:
- Remaining capacity
- State of charge
- Cell voltage
- Pack voltage
- Current draw
- Cell temperatures and faults
Knowing the stats of all your drone batteries will do wonders for your peace of mind. Two of the five LED indicators on each commercial battery inform you of their current level of charge and blink to warn you about recent faults or when lockout protection is enabled. The captured data is converted into actionable health statistics that remain accessible over the life of the battery.
VPW’s smart batteries have built-in battery charging and management systems. This provides you with a centralized system for managing your drone batteries. The BCMS offers a streamlined method for maintaining a 4-drone fleet or a 4,000-drone fleet because it gives you instant access to all the collected information from each battery in one centralized location. Easily catalog review, and report on data from the entire fleet.
How Can Commercial Smart Batteries Impact Your Company?
Protect Your Assets
Commercial industries that employ drones – such as the aerospace, energy, and automation industries – tend to own high-value assets in addition to their investment in their drone fleet. The sheer dollar value of the assets at risk during drone usage can be sobering.
The state-of-the-art safety features that come with well-designed smart batteries and built-in battery charging and maintenance systems protect your surrounding assets as well as your drone fleet itself. When batteries default or fail (which can happen at any time), more than a single drone is at risk. The safety features in these smart batteries will protect all your investments.
When you’re in the dark about the state of your battery’s charge, remaining capacity, or overall health, you tend to err on the side of caution and replace the battery based on intuition rather than data. Oftentimes, this will lead you to replace your batteries far too early. The costs can quickly add up, even for smaller fleets.
Smart batteries are engineered for power-hungry applications that require a small, lightweight power source. Their optimized design naturally extends their working life. VPW’s battery and charging maintenance systems give you real-time battery health stats. You’ll reduce your overall energy costs and never have to prematurely replace a battery again.
Frequent battery changing and inefficient monitoring consume time and reduce overall productivity. Implementing a smart battery and charging maintenance system reduces the need for frequent replacements and allows personnel to monitor the battery fleet from a single location in real-time.
There’s no need to individually check and monitor each battery or gather separate pieces of data. Your team will have more time to focus their efforts on their primary tasks and goals.
Smart Batteries: Commercial Uses and Benefits
Drones are making the need for manual aircraft inspection a thing of the past. Visual inspections can take up to six hours, but the use of drones drastically reduces the time investment.
Drones also provide increased accuracy and efficient documentation. Data collected from drones is combined with visual processing algorithm systems, allowing the aircraft maintenance team to respond immediately to faults.
Smart batteries provide increased battery life, safety, and efficiency. As the drone-inspection program expands, so do public safety and corporate profits.
Farming and Agriculture
Modern agriculture relies on technology, which makes it a perfect candidate for drone use. Some agricultural tasks are too large or too complex for a farmer to accomplish alone. Instead, they use drones to closely monitor soil and crop health, track weather, and collect data for planning and yield estimations.
Commercial smart batteries provide enough increased battery life to send drones across sprawling fields to collect data and report on crops. Farmers also save maintenance costs because they know exactly when it’s time to replace old batteries.
Drones inspect the condition of energy-related assets such as energy distribution networks, power plants, pipelines, and rigs. Traditionally, personnel performed these dangerous tasks. Since implementing drone inspections, workers are safer, costs are down, and inspection times have decreased by 85 percent.
The greater efficiency afforded by the commercial series smart battery charging and maintenance system makes managing and maintaining a larger fleet a more viable option for energy companies. As corporations in the energy sector expand their drone programs, worker safety increases, along with the protection of vital energy resources and assets.
Vertical Partners West (VPW)
At Vertical Partners West, we produce cutting-edge solutions for the commercial drone market. Our commercial series smart batteries are specifically engineered for high-power, demanding commercial applications. Contact us for details about how we can implement smart battery technology for your business.