Technion designs automatic system for refueling drones

The system functions completely independently, without human intervention.

drone 298.88 (photo credit: Technion)
drone 298.88
(photo credit: Technion)
A system for miniature pilotless flying vehicles to be fueled by a remote-controlled system has been designed by students at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. The project will be presented at the annual Israel Aeronautics Congress to open at the Technion and in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Ten students directed by Prof. Benny Landkoff and Robert Zikel worked for a year on the project, which is based on a special algorithm that operates a camera on the end of the fueling tube. Each fueling lasts for 36 more hours in the air. The camera focuses on a little red light that serves as the target, calculates the distance between the tube and the opening of the fuel tank and gives instructions to small wings that maneuver the tube towards the opening. The camera can indicate not only the direction of the tube but also the distance - from six to 12 meters - that it must be extended to carry out the task. Today, there is no similar system on the market, and the Technion project has already aroused interest at the congress. The system functions completely independently, without human intervention, and is operated by a computer inside the pilotless vehicle, which carries 400 kilos of fuel.