A couple of posts on Twitter, combined with the inconsistent wonders of Google Translate, indicate that DJI has obtained a patent for a drone-in-a-box solution. This is a key feature for conducting automated Beyond Visual Line of Sight inspections.
Having a “drone-in-a-box,” or dock system, can really open the doors for numerous use-case scenarios. Drones can be dispatched on automated missions, such as infrastructure inspections, surveillance and more — all by software alone with a human monitoring the mission.
And now, according to two different tweets from two well-known sources, DJI has a patent on its own version of the technology.
DJI patent for “Drone-in-a-box”
The news comes from well-known sources @OsitaLV and @Kanzhaji. Both tweeted these images, which appear to indicate that, after filing originally in 2017, DJI has been granted a patent for this device:
Be sure to scroll across the images on that tweet; there’s more than one image.
DJI applied for Drone-in-a-box patent back in 2017
Seems DJI has been awaiting an answer for some time. It appears that it first made its application some four years go. Again, with the help of Google Translate and a post on @Kanzhaji’s website, we can give you the following information:
Patent description: This application provides a base station and charging system for drones. The base station (100) includes a housing, an apron on the top of the housing…Includes a first protective cover and a second protective cover… the first protective cover and the second protective cover can rotate towards each other and gradually approach or turn back and gradually move away, correspondingly to close or open the protective cover.
It’s about time
A number of other companies are already in this space. Israel’s Airobotics was the first, or so we recall. Other competitors in this space include Percepto and Skydio, whose dock was recently deployed with FAA permission for BVLOS flights on behalf of the BNSF railway. Here’s how these systems work:
Percepto, last time we checked, had 100+ docks deployed around the world. It also likely won’t take Skydio long to catch up. Even with BVLOS waivers not yet routine, getting those waivers and getting these systems out in the field and proven provides these companies with an advantage.
In that sense, DJI has some catching up to do. On the other hand, depending on what drones the DJI system is compatible with, it will likely already have customers waiting for this kind of solution. We’ll be watching for a release date, though don’t anticipate it will be anytime soon.
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