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Smart Batteries for UAS and Beyond

The smarter your battery is, the better your technology performs.
In many ways, lithium-ion batteries are the most important component of any modern technology. By transforming standard batteries into smart batteries, Packet Digital changes a required component into an invaluable asset.

What is a “Smart Battery”

A true smart battery pairs cells with electronics that provide real-time monitoring and reporting of critical performance data. This data provides important information to your flight computer, allowing it to make decisions in flight, ensuring safe and reliable operation, and early notice of developing problems. It also communicates with the charging system to ensure safe charging and prevent catastrophic failures. Smart batteries can also ensure safe storage and shipping by de-energizing the outputs when not attached to a UAS or charger. From a hardware aspect, it’s the BMS (battery management system), a circuit board that is paired with the cells, that makes a smart battery different than a traditional, or “dumb” battery.

Maximize Flight Time And Profits

By using energy more efficiently, an unmanned aircraft is able to fly longer on a charge, making every trip more productive.

Collect Important Data

Think of a smart battery as a black box for the UAS, recording and reporting how the battery is treated and how it performs under ever-changing conditions.

Improve Operational Safety

Regulatory focus will become even more intense as UAS take to the skies above population centers, making battery status more important

Reduce Aircraft Weight

By maximizing your available battery footprint, you eliminate the need for backup batteries or larger batteries.

Increase Battery Life

By regulating charging, smart batteries from Packet Digital are able to last longer and age more gracefully.

Packet Digital’s Custom Battery Development Experience

Anduril, the maker of the Ghost VTOL Group 2 sUAS, contracted Packet Digital to manufacture batteries. Packet Digital manufacturing capabilities were essential to tackle this highly challenging build. Additionally, Packet was able to quickly resolve critical supply chain issues through collaboration and experience with top component providers.

Lockheed Martin contracted with Packet Digital to design and manufacture batteries for their Indago 4 UAS platform.

We have been cycling Packet Digital’s battery for 6 months. It is now at 1000 cycles that’s 10X better than anything we have ever seen, and it only shows 11% degradation”. – Lockheed Martin, Chief Engineer

Smart Batteries From Packet Digital

High cycle life LiPo batteries with battery management system.

  • Accurate, state-of-charge monitoring and reporting
  • Stores critical lifetime information such as:
    • Total usage
    • Faults
    • Overall pack health and estimation
  • USB connectivity for computer/phone/tablet interface
  • Technology is adaptable to other configurations
  • Record min/max voltage and current

What questions should you ask your battery designer or supplier?

What does C-rate mean? What discharge rate do I need for my pack?
What does 6S2P mean?
What power density do I need?
Does the battery connect to an autopilot for real time telemetry data?
What is the real-world cycle life of the pack (not just the cells)?
What voltage should I use?
What energy density do I need?
Is cooling necessary?
Country of origin? Country of manufacture?
Operating environment: