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16 October 2014

Alta Devices cooperating with Airware to integrate solar power into small UAVs

Alta Devices of Sunnyvale, CA, USA (a Hanergy Holdings company) has announced a cooperation with Airware to enable manufacturers of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to integrate solar power into their aircraft.

Founded in 2007, Alta is focused on improving the production economics of high-efficiency solar photovoltaics. The firm fabricates gallium arsenide PV cells in a micron-thick thin-film that it then lifts off the growth GaAs substrate (which can then be reused multiple times to amortize its high cost). The thin-film cell can then be placed on a flexible substrate. The firm’s use of GaAs has allowed its single- and dual-junction solar cells to produce record conversion efficiencies of 28.8% and 30.8% respectively. The single-junction GaAs thin-film solar cells are already in production.

Alta has shown that, by integrating its thin, lightweight solar material onto the wings of a small UAV, flight endurance can be increased by more than four-fold. On certain designs, a solar-enabled UAV can fly all day long under sunny conditions, without landing to swap or recharge batteries.

Airware offers hardware, software and cloud services for the rapid development and safe operation of commercial drones. Alta says that, by partnering with Airware, it will be able to bring its AnyLight solar cell technology to a wide range of commercial vehicles operating around the world. Moreover, through the relationship, UAV manufacturers employing Airware services can dramatically increase their flight endurance with ease, it is claimed.

“This fundamentally changes the utility of small unmanned systems in a number of end markets,” reckons Alta’s VP of sales & marketing Rich Kapusta. “For precision agriculture, search and rescue, or land surveying, UAVs need to fly longer and farther than today’s systems provide,” he adds. “The most effective way to increase endurance is by adding solar.”

See related items:

Alta Devices enables UAVs

Tags: Alta Devices GaAs PV Hanergy

Visit: www.altadevices.com

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