Packet Digital, LLC

NRL Tests Autonomous ‘Soaring with Solar’ Concept

Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Vehicle Research Section and Photovoltaic Section are building on the proven concept of autonomous cooperative soaring of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with power management systems provided by Packet Digital, LLC, with support from the North Dakota Renewable Energy Council.

May 30, 2017

Packet Digital announces new smart battery at AUVSI XPONENTIAL

Data logging, extended-life battery now on display at Venom Power booth 1311

Packet Digital announces the launch of its smart battery for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and drones at AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017, now on display at the Venom Power booth 1311 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

The smart battery is designed with commercial drone users in mind, especially those who hope to save money and improve workflow by gathering data to help them better understand and extend the life of their battery inventory.

The Packet Digital smart battery provides the end user real-time usage data during operation as well access to lifetime historical records of what the battery has been exposed to. Drone pilots have access to data about remaining capacity, state of health and fault conditions during use that can help them prevent damage to and extend the life of the battery. Drone owners also know exactly which batteries to keep and which will need to be replaced, thus reducing expenses and waste.

Smart Battery Features and Specifications

  • Modular sub-packs for transportation and maintenance
  • Built-in safety monitoring and logging
  • Onboard waveform logging of power system performance during flight
  • Access to precision battery status in real-time through I2C
  • Available in a 10Ah, true 5C continuous discharge rating, 6S configuration
  • Proven 1000+ cycle life, 3-6x improvement over standard batteries

Packet Digital has partnered with a leading American battery manufacturer to combine its expertise in power electronics and power management with sophisticated lithium ion cell technology to create this smart battery for drone users hoping to invest in long-lasting, intelligent power options. The battery is currently available through Venom Power (

May 10, 2017

Packet Digital solar UAVs featured in Aviation Week

Packet Digital’s work in solar UAVs was recently featured in a December Aviation Week article, “Solar-Powered Flight Finding Practical Application With UAVs.”

The article quotes Packet Digital Director of Advanced Technologies Andrew Paulsen and highlights some of the work we’re doing with solar Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for UAVs, our smart battery, test flights with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and even the potential for nano-UAVs.

Read the full article here:

December 19, 2016

Sen. Heitkamp visits, discusses promoting N.D. tech

Sen. Heitkamp learns UAV technologyPacket Digital, LLC was proud to host U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in the Packet Digital and Botlink offices, where she asked great questions about power management and UAV technology and helped us explore ideas for sharing our product benefits with government and commercial customers across the country. N.D. tech companies, colleges, and universities are fortunate to have delegates who are passionate about promoting STEM careers and building opportunities in our state.

Here more about her visit:



September 23, 2016

DoE taps Packet Digital to develop nuclear fuel monitoring system

Cost-effective, fault-tolerant system aims to improve U.S. nuclear safety and security.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has contracted Packet Digital to develop a cost-effective, fault-tolerant nuclear fuel monitoring system to ensure the safe, secure use and storage of nuclear material across industries.

“The growing interest, adoption and use of nuclear technology over the last several decades has been prolific across industries from energy and defense to transportation, cargo inspection, medical, astronautical, waste storage and more,” Packet Digital CEO Terri Gunn Zimmerman said. “Packet Digital’s monitoring system will help ensure the safety of people who work with nuclear material on a daily basis, as well a prevent extensive damage from catastrophic events or terrorist acts.”

The DoE offered Packet Digital a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to demonstrate the proof of concept of a system to monitor critical environmental conditions and provide feedback regarding the health and status of a nuclear facility to a monitoring station through a redundant, fault-tolerant network of sensors. Packet Digital will design the support circuitry and processing to integrate neutron detection into the system and improve usability, performance and battery life.

The prototype design is scheduled for completion in February 2017.

Fault-tolerant reliability

Packet Digital will take several precautions to ensure the robustness and reliability of its nuclear monitoring system.

“While the neutron detector is relatively mature technology, modifications to the circuitry will require further testing and evaluation of its sufficient radiation hardness to endure long-term radiation exposure, which is essential for the intended application of nuclear waste monitoring,” said Dr. Agus Widjaja, Packet Digital’s primary investigator on the project.

Individual sensor modules will be configured in a mesh network topology to increase reliability. Sensor nodes will also include redundant power sources including wired power and automatic failover to battery power.

Packet Digital will use its expertise in Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) design and hardware-based, dynamic power optimization to ensure precise measurement from low-power sensor nodes over long periods of time, even on backup battery power.

Future work and benefits

Packet Digital will eventually integrate its design into a more comprehensive sensing architecture to be made available to nuclear facilities and other industries. The representative system will include not only neutron detection, but other sensing capabilities such as hydrogen, thermal and imaging.

Packet Digital will begin evaluating additional sensors, including cameras suitable for nuclear fuel monitoring such as optical, electro-optical infrared (EOIR), thermal, and multispectral. Various imaging methods will provide details on the structural integrity of nuclear storage containers as well as monitoring changes in the environment.

August 25, 2016

Packet Digital electronics tested in solar-soaring UAS

Solar UAS test launch

A researcher with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is shown here testing its solar-soaring Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), outfitted with Packet Digital’s Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT), Power Management and Distribution (PMAD), and smart battery.

Although the flight was cut short by incoming bad weather, after one hour and 22 minutes, the battery still had a remaining charge of 87%, well above the 66% expected on a non-solar flight of the same duration with the same model aircraft.

The MPPT output trended closely to NRL’s solar insolation models and provided a good baseline for future testing. Packet Digital is looking forward to additional, longer test flights to follow.

August 17, 2016

Packet Digital featured in Unmanned Systems Magazine

Read how Packet Digital is optimizing power management for unmanned aircraft in Unmanned Systems Magazine, a publication of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

October 1, 2015

Botlink named Startup of the Year Semifinalist

Tech.Co has named Botlink a Startup of the Year Semifinalist, with the winner to be named at the Celebrate Conference, October 4-6, in Las Vegas. Read about the challenges this North Dakota company has overcome to compete on the national and global level.

September 30, 2015

Packet Digital continues partnership with Industrial Commission

Packet Digital is proud to once again partner with the North Dakota Industrial Commission through its Renewable Energy Program. We’re continuing toward our goal of an endless endurance solar soaring drone and creating manufacturing and development opportunities in North Dakota for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), solar arrays and more.

Read more:

North American Windpower

Unmanned Aerial Online

August 3, 2015

Drone Focus 2015 recap and look ahead

See highlights from the Drone Focus conference in June and hear what Packet Digital CEO Terri Gunn Zimmerman and Botlink COO Shawn Meuhler expect from the drone industry. Watch the video.

Save the date, June 1, for #DroneFocus 2016 and learn how North Dakota can be a leader in drones.

July 31, 2015