Fly longer and carry more. That’s what every small UAV consumer wants. As the uses for small, electric, commercial UAVs expand, the demand for the UAVs to stay aloft longer and carry heavier, more powerful payloads constantly increases.
Right now, there are few alternatives to extend electric UAV endurance other than adding batteries, making improvements to the electrical systems, or redesigning the UAV to be more aerodynamic.
While the first option tends to add significant weight, and takes up a lot of extra space, the latter two options can be very expensive.
There is, however, another way. The Solar Solution Solar power technology has improved dramatically over the years.
Efficiency has gone up, but the existing technology is still too heavy, too rigid, or too inefficient for use on UAVs — until now.
Alta Devices has developed an extremely lightweight, flexible, and thin, gallium arsenide (GaAs) solar cell.
The Benefits Flight endurance increase depends greatly on the aircraft’s design and mission, but in most cases an increase can be seen without any changes to the structure or electrical systems.
In cases where aircraft are optimized for solar, increases of up to 5x the flight time are possible.
Limited Aerodynamic Impact Because our solar cells are so thin and flexible, they can easily be adhered directly to a wing or fuselage surface with negligible impact to aerodynamics.