University of Leicester engineer to work on game changing drone technology

A university engineer will take a year away from teaching to work on state-of-the-art drone technology.

Dr Bing Ji has been working alongside aerial logistics firm Skyfarer and Dynex Semiconductor Ltd to develop intelligent gate drivers for silicon carbide and gallium nitride devices.

Dr Ji, who works in the University’s School of Engineering says that the development of these components could be revolutionary for electric transportation and could help the UK achieve its net-emissions goals in the future.

These devices promise significant increases in efficiency, power density, temperature, and switching frequency for electric power trains.

Dr Ji said: “By working with Skyfarer and Dynex, the University of Leicester is seizing a historic moment in the reinvention of electric transportation.

“This research is helping to improve the field robustness and reliability of eTransportation by developing the latest intelligent drivers for silicon carbide and gallium nitride devices.

“The latest intelligent gate drivers will help system designers to reliably maximise the transistor potentials while providing in-situ status awareness, adaptive protection and device-level control.

“The associated power converters have been utilized in electric vehicles and drones to improve the energy efficiency and reliability of the systems.

“As the UK is becoming a greener and more innovation-led economy, the consequent industry and economic impacts are becoming clear, thanks to the collaboration of academia and industry on the research and development of power electronics and research.”

Because of his work, Dr Ji is one of seven engineering researchers to receive The Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship.

The fellowship will cover the costs of a replacement academic to take over teaching and administrative duties.

Talking about the fellowship, Dr Ji said: “This award will enable our industry partners to get access to this new technology early on in its development and to assess how this can be adopted for commercial exploitation. It will also significantly benefit my research and career developments”.