The State of Solar-powered Drones

solar_drone_by_NASA

In recent years, both the drone and the solar industries have been advancing and growing at an impressive speed.

  • Solar: scientists have improved PV’s inefficiency yet driven down the cost so much so that solar energy has reached “grid parity” in many countries.
  • Drone: Powered by AI and Li-on battery, drones have the mind-blowing applications that will profoundly impact society such as passage drones, logistics, disaster management, precision agriculture, search and rescue in addition to aerial photography.

But can these two awesome technologies combine? Excitingly, the answer is YES, it’ called solar done, duh?

Here are the companies and the drones they are working on:

  • Titan Aerospace (acquired by Google): Solara 50
  • Boeing / DARPA: SolarEagle
  • Aurora Flight Sciences: Odysseus
  • BAE Systems: PHASA-35
  • Chinese Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA): Caihong (“Rainbow) T-4
  • AeroVironment Inc: HAWK30
  • Facebook / Ascenta: Aquila
  • British defense firm QinetiQ: The Zephyr

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