Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), like any other form of device with an engine, herald from an origin where it burns fossil fuels for its propulsion power source. One alternative energy source, solar power, is seen as a possibility in this space though. We’ve already seen at least one attempt in this regard, and now the latest comes from Silent Falcon UAS Technologies.
The company recently unveiled its new Silent Falcon solar electric unmanned aerial system (UAS) at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Las Vegas. Under development for two years, the Silent Falcon is said by its developer to employ a variety of proprietary technological advancements to make it state of the art.
Depending upon its configuration as well as optimal flight conditions, the UAS can stay aloft during the daytime for up to 14 hours. This drops considerably at night, with energy stored in the flight vehicle’s lithium ion battery offering a maximum of six hours of flight.
The solar technology on board, thin film photovoltaic, is such that it doesn’t add much weight to the overall UAS design. The Silent Falcon is made from a lightweight carbon fiber composite structure, and because it is driven by an electric motor, it is hard to hear flying in the sky except at very close distances.
Equipped with very advanced video processing and camera technologies, a number of possible flight scenarios are envisioned by Silent Falcon for its UAS. These include intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting missions; disaster response missions such as up close inspections of fires; border patrol, security and surveillance operations; and public safety and event security.
Gizmag reports the Silent Falcon is currently in preproduction stage, but one might be able to expect seeing them in the solar powered skies sometime perhaps in 2013.