St. Petersburg Federal Research Center
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Specialists of the St. Petersburg Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SPC RAS) have developed a system that allows for wireless transferring energy underwater. The development, that has no analogues in the Russian Federation, particularly, will find an application in geological exploration and monitoring of water bodies, where such systems will be able to reliably and safely service the corresponding robotic systems.

Today, robotics is being actively introduced into various spheres of life and opens up great prospective for increasing automation and productivity, especially in those environments where it is hard for a human to perform tasks without using special equipment.

In particular, we are speaking about the active use of robots at running high-precision underwater work, including geological exploration, studying the relief of fresh and salty reservoirs, monitoring the water area, etc. Development of power supply and battery charging systems is one of the tasks for the efficient operation of robots underwater.

“We have developed a prototype of a wireless power transmission system for autonomous robotic systems regarding various purposes. In particular, we are speaking about underwater robots, for those such a solution for charging batteries allows for increasing the level of automation and safety in the process. Moreover, our system is bidirectional, i.e. it allows for charging robots at the charging station, and also allows for energy resources exchanging directly between the robots of the group,” says Konstantin Krestovnikov,  Junior Researcher of the Laboratory of Autonomous Robotic Systems at SPC RAS.

System consists of transmitting and receiving parts. The wireless transmission of energy is performed by the method of electromagnetic induction, i.e. by means of an alternating magnetic field. In addition, the development has an energy transfer control module that, based on the specifics of a particular robot, can be integrated into its control system.

Due to the principles used in this system, it is not necessary to ensure high-precision positioning or tight contact between the robot and the charging station, as in the case with existing analogues. In one of the developed prototypes, it is enough for the receiver and transmitter to be at a distance less 6-7 cm from each other. The energy transfer efficiency measured on a prototype system with an output power of 400 watts is about 85%.

“Today, our bidirectional wireless energy transmission system has no analogues in Russia, and can be used as a tool to solve problems of achieving technological sovereignty of the country in development and implementation of robots in various sectors of economy. Based on the needs of industrial partners, its design and software can be adapted to different types of robots to perform appropriate tasks. For example, it can be implemented as an underwater automated charging station for a group of robots, instead of lifting every robot  to the surface and changing batteries manually,” explains Konstantin Krestovnikov.

Development of scientists from SPC RAS – a bidirectional wireless energy transmission system – has been patented (patent number: No. 2802056).

The main scientific publications regarding the development:

  1. Structure and Circuit Solution of a Bidirectional Wireless Power Transmission System in Applied Robotics
  2. Development of the structure and circuit solution of a bidirectional wireless energy transmission system for swarm robots