THE SOLAR POWERED DRONE THAT COULD FLY INDEFINITELY
14 August 2017, Written by David Simmons
AN Australian company is in the process of developing a completely solar powered drone that might be capable of indefinite flight and has secured government funding for its revolutionary project.
Praxis Aeronautics, based in Adelaide, has developed a prototype in which solar cells can be encapsulated into a composite material, such as the body of a drone.
By tapping into the power of the sun, Praxis Aeronautics hopes its drones will be able to fly for longer than conventional, petrol powered drones.
"Our new manufacturing process is disruptive because it enables standard solar cells to be used in a much more productive way," says Praxis Aeronautics managing director Don Donaldson.
Praxis says the applications of this technology could be used for several purposes including mapping, environmental management, defence, and the delivery of medical supplies.
The company today received $150,000 in support from the South Australian government under the state's Early Commercialisation Fund.
The support will go towards scaling up the systems and production facilities to allow for the manufacture of full scale solar powered drones for sale.
The SA Early Commercialisation Fund provides staged grants of up to $500,000. To date over 240 expressions of interest have been received.
Praxis Aeronautics is competing with Facebook on this difficult innovation. The social media giant has been attempting to build a solar powered drone for a number of years now. Unlike Praxis, Facebook intends these drones to be deployed to provide internet access to remote parts of the world which otherwise are not connected.
Google recently threw in the towel on this innovation. Like Facebook, Google were building a solar powered drone to beam the internet into remote areas. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) cut the solar drone program because of financial stress.
Author: David Simmons