Powerlines to charge drones: Vic students

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Caroline Schelle
(Australian Associated Press)

Instead of birds sitting on power lines Australians could soon see flocks of drones settling on the wires to recharge themselves.

Melbourne University students Elena Vella, Rowan Skewes and David Mann have presented the technology to Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne at the Lockheed Martin lab in Melbourne.

“It’s very impressive technology,” Mr Pyne told the engineering students on Wednesday.

The recharging technique could potentially save governments money and also be applied to other fields, the minister said.

The students showed how drones can be used to detect when powerlines need maintenance and also physically attach to the overhead wires to recharge.

“It’s exciting … one day we could see these drones buzzing around our streets,” Ms Vella said.

So far the drones were limited in how much power they could draw from the overhead lines but the students believe that in the near future they could operate independently to charge themselves.

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