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Thu, Sep 06, 2018

New Generation Solar Cell Empowers Autonomy For BVLOS UAV Operations

Technology Developed By Alta Devices Unveiled At InterDrone Conference In Las Vegas

UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), or drones, are among the earliest autonomous vehicles – performing many functions without human intervention. The next challenge for UAVs is the coming adoption of BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) regulations. The adoption of these rules liberates drones, but also places new demands on them; they need to be able to fly for extended periods and have the right instrumentation for many newly practical applications, such as precision agriculture, mapping, railroad inspection, and search and rescue. Therefore, these aircraft require sufficient power to enable long-distance flight.

The most likely form of power that will make this possible is solar power. However, these solar cells must be able to generate significant power from direct or indirect light, be lightweight, and, be able to integrate directly into the aircraft. Alta Devices new Gen4 solar technology uniquely meets these requirements.

The technology is being unveiled this week at InterDrone in Las Vegas. Lightweight, thin and flexible gallium-arsenide solar cells from Alta Devices enable designs that are not possible with other solar technologies.

Alta cells provide a new level of mechanical and design flexibility for the UAV industry due to their high power-density combined with the ability to bend around curved surfaces. Alta Devices is the world-record holder for single junction solar cell efficiency at 28.9%. The newest generation product from Alta demonstrates a significant weight reduction from the previous version resulting in an improved power to weight ratio.

(Image provided with Alta Devices news release)

FMI: www.altadevices.com

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