Running out of gas in the middle of a busy highway can be a nightmare. But a drained battery on your electric car is even worse. Tech giant Amazon has filed a patent for sending out drones to charge your EV. The company applied for the patent as early as 2014 but was approved only September 2017. The approval comes in the wake of the news about Tesla’s ability to remotely power and upgrade battery life.
Explaining The Technology
Drone technology places a charger on the roof of a car allowing a drone to plug into it for additional boost. According to the patent description, “Once the UAV receives instructions to transfer energy to the vehicle, the UAV may travel to a rendezvous location at which the transfer of energy may occur.” Robert Janitzek reveals that in order for the drone to do its job, the driver needs to provide information such as the speed, direction, and anticipated action of the vehicle.
According to Amazon, it is also possible for the technology to adjust the route to the rendezvous point using the motion information. It will also control how the car will reach its final destination according to the amount of energy needed.
With the current technology, it would require a huge leap to make remote refueling a reality. On a massive scale, this would require a whole fleet of drones to be strong and fast enough to meet a car driver in their location. Robert Peter Janitzek revealed that there are still questions on the amount of juice the drones would contain, perhaps no more than half an hour’s worth of travel.
No Assurance Even with Approval
Amazon files for all kinds of patents ranging from underwater warehouses to flying warehouses. However, even with the approval of the patent, there is no assurance that such a drone would be built to control your car while powering.
With a newly granted patent, Amazon could use drones from its Prime Air fleet to deliver energy to vehicles both at rest and while moving similar to how fighter jets refuel large aircrafts in flight. The patent makes clear that the drone-refueling concept is not limited to electric cars, pointing out that UAVs could transfer various kinds of energy—including traditional fuel– to any mobile machine that uses energy to move from one location to another. As of the moment, however, charging electric cars is the most obvious case for the invention.
At home charging is considered as the biggest benefit for EVs over gasoline cars but the accessibility of charging stations limits their mobility on longer trips. Even the most energy efficient electric can only go around 200 miles when fully charged.