Solar-Powered Drones? Does that Work!?

baraz well flight test crew here today at the drones data X conference in San Francisco and I'm speaking with Ryan crow from Alta devices how you doing Ryan good how you doing today I'm very well you guys are a solar manufacturer but this is a drone show what's the solar company doing at a drone show so we actually find that drones are our biggest market as a solar power company we build very thin flexible lightweight and the highest efficiency solar material in the world which is perfect for standing flight endurance for unmanned systems when we've been flying drones people in public it's strange one of the most common questions we get is when people understand they're battery-powered why don't you put solar cells on them but I didn't think solar cells could have enough kick to really appreciate the effect flight time well it's been an issue in the past a lot of solar cells that are flexible tend to be very low efficiency and then the ones that are high efficiency are very rigid and heavy and so we bring the best of both worlds together where both light and flexible and thin and extremely high efficiency when you say high efficiency how high efficiency are you so we're actually the world-record holder and efficiency our single-junction material is 28.8% efficient and our dual Junction is 31.6% efficient and that's good in solar world that's very good in solar world that sounds great but of course drones sometimes need to fly when it's cloudy outside does that negate the effectiveness no you still get power even when it's cloudy we actually operate well into the infrared spectrum it's actually our best light capture spectrum so you'll still get power even when the clouds are out Wow impressive stuff and I do have to say I mean look at this so you just put this on the wings put it on the wings tie it in to electrical system and fly away very good very good what kind of aircraft are using the song and what sort of results are you getting so you know part of a UAV market is fixed-wing UAVs they've got a lot of wing space so you can put a lot of solar on it our best example is the air varmint Puma where normal flight time two to three hours we put solar on the wings and they flew for over nine hours all right so I guess solar is the future for drones we think so so what market are you going after with this technology really you know fixed-wing UAVs anybody who needs to fly for a long time but we're branching out into every market Internet of Things you know eventually the automotive industry and everywhere you can use mobile power Ryan thanks so much pleasure to meet you pleasure to meet you too thank very much and from drones data X 2016 in San Francisco this is the Roswell flight test for use signing off thanks

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In this episode, the Roswell Flight Test Crew speaks with Ryan Crowe of Alta Devices at the Drones Data X Conference in San Francisco. Alta manufactures ultra high efficiency, flexible solar cells for a wide range of applications. These include substantially extending the endurance of fixed-wing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As an example, Crow cites the AeroVironment Puma, which has seen up to a five-fold increase in flying time when equipped with solar cells on the wings.

10 comments on “Solar-Powered Drones? Does that Work!?

  1. DutchRC Adventures

    If only Tesla's idea of wireless energy transfer would have worked out huh? 🙂
    But.. this looks & sounds great man.. Moving pretty close to the theoretical max. efficiency of solar I think?


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