With the Solar, soaring technology NRL maximizes UAV endurance

The US researchers of Naval Research Laboratory are introducing unmanned technology aerial vehicles that have given them the capability to fly more than 12 hours from the sun and atmosphere by harvesting energy. Solar soaring is the enhancement of technologies. They aidthe warfighter by enabling UAV to fly more distance without carrying extra weight in batteries. 

Dr. Dan Edwards, a senior aerospace engineer in NRL's Tactical Electronic Warfare Division said that one of the general complaints about the warfighters is that they want aircraft to fly longer. One of the best ways to do this is to capture atmospheric wind energy or solar energy to elaborate the endurance. 

Since the year 2005, an autopilot has been exploring to soar using thermals in the surroundings that are as if a bird flies. Using exclusive guidance and sensing algorithms. The UAV files are a route until it senses a thermal updraft and then commands the aircraft to go in the increasing air.  

Edwards said that sunlight heats up the Earth’s surface, that in return gives heats the lowest layer of air. This warm air bubbles up as an increasing air called thermal. This is the airplane can use to gain altitude and indirectly its solar powdered. Solar energy is used directly to give power to the UAV by using solar cells that are semiconductor devices. It converts light into electricity. The photovoltaic technology advanced to the main point where a UAV could be solar powdered. Every gram of weight has to be justified for an aircraft. It has to pull its own weight. Solar cells were not valued the added weight. 

Edwards said that with solar-soaring, the UAV does not require a large battery because it is getting energy from the surroundings. It carries more smart software in case of autonomous soaring algorithms or lightweight solar array that captures more energy from the sun compared to the mass amount. 

These technologies found by the NRL and while soaring the motor are switched off and the solar array can recharge the battery rapidly. This produces UAV mission availability for warfighters. 

Jenkins said that among the both, you have the most powerful energy-harvesting platform because you will be able to soar, sometimes you don’t have the solar energy and vice versa. The NRL introduced technologies applicable to platforms used by the military such as the Raven, small-handed remote controlled UAV or a large UAV.