Solar powered drone can fly as long as sun shines

Entirely solar powered drone !!!!

Topic itself sounds interesting isn't it lets find out .....

Aaron Danner (right most) and his team of students, with solar-powered quad(Credit: NUS)

Sounds magical to hear about "solar-powered" quad copter, this was in news  before, in which the battery on board  is charged by ground based photo cells or solar cells. Now, however, engineering students have built a drone that draws its power directly from on-board solar cells, eventually allowing it to stay airborne as long as the sun is shining.

Designed and developed by a team of students from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the drone is built mainly from carbon fiber,weighing at just 2.6 kg (5.7 lb). It has no on-board battery or other energy-storage system, but its equipped with an array of 148 silicon solar cells, giving it a total surface area of approximately 4 square meters (43 sq ft).

Associate professor Aaron Danner supervised the project, eight successive groups of students have been working on the project since 2012. Although a drone that combined solar and battery power was flown in the past, this is NUS' first one to fly solely on solar power only and directly.

Drone has been flown by remote control up to an altitude of over 10 meters (33 ft). And drone is equipped with a GPS system, it can reportedly also fly autonomously.

It is hoped that this proof-of-concept model could ultimately lead to solar-powered quad copters that might serve as power-providing "flying solar panels" at sites of  disaster or emergency, or that could be used for tasks such as surveillance and photography. For some applications, the addition of an integrated battery would let the aircraft keep flying at night or in cloudy conditions just like solar plane which already had flown almost entire planet on green energy. Possibilities are endless.

Professor Aaron Danner says "Our aircraft is extremely lightweight for its size, and it can fly as long as there is sunlight, even for hours,"  "Unlike conventional quad copter drones, our aircraft does not rely on on-board batteries and hence it is not limited by flight time. Its ability to land on any flat surface and fly out of the ground effect in a controlled way also makes it suitable for practical implementation."

You can see the drone's flight, in the following video. And although it's claimed to be Asia's first fully solar-powered quad-copter, a student team from Queen Mary University of London claimed to have built one  some five years ago.

                                  Source: National University of Singapore

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