by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2017
The next leap in flight duration might come from graphene-based Lithium batteries, as they filter down from the premium military applications.
The early models of these batteries are now available for the hobbyist.
Another problem with graphene is that it has become the equivalent of 'titanium' in the golf marketing jargon – the only graphene in some of these technologies is in the label!
There are some near insurmountable problems shipping any li-ion battery if air flight is involved. This remains a key issue for professionals contracted to do drone work abroad and sometimes the batteries have to be sourced locally and then left behind at the end of the shoot. The new DJI Matrice has spread its six batteries around the airframe so that each is a smaller, lower-capacity unit. The regulations are a little perverse at the moment, you can airfreight a lot of small batteries but not a single unitary battery of the same total capacity. Lots of little batteries in the same camera bag strikes this writer as a near equal risk. It seems that power is the driving parameter (pardon the pun) to make drones race faster and climb faster specically for the enthusiast market. However, capacity and energy-density levels are what control the flight duration.
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