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Solar-Powered Drones | A Look into the Future

Articles January 20, 2017

solar-powered drones

With the introduction of drones into everyday life, we have advanced our methods of navigation. This fundamental equipment allows for unmanned flight, hence sporting the name, UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle which was originally adopted by the United States Department of Defense and the United States Federal Aviation Administration back in 2005. Since then, drones have continued to play an important role in the military. The following article will go over what the future has in store for solar-powered drones and what this means for the growing industry.

solar-powered drones

Solar-powered Drones Details

Since then, drones have started expanding their capabilities into the areas of agriculture, aerial photography and surveillance. With any powered vehicle, limiting the use of fuel that pollutes the air and has negative effects on the environment, solar powered vehicles have become the optimal solution. And the same apples to drones, which have now become solar-powered.

This article aims to shed light on the effect solar-powered drones will have on the future of this rapidly growing market.

You can seldom go wrong when utilizing solar energy. Solar powered drones therefore raise the level of efficiency to higher than before with its various advantages. Here are a few:

Weather Warnings & Updates

Due to their lightweight structure and components, solar powered drones are able to reach heights not possible by a regular airplane. The main reason for their lightness in weight is the removal of a heavy engine to keep it operating. Detailed weather updates will provide life-saving warnings for hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami’s and other destructive weather. This can prevent the level of devastation as a result of these disasters and in turn, save lives and prevent severe injuries. Also, solar-powered drones can identify areas after a disaster where we are not able to reach. This ultimately assists rescue teams in their efforts during catastrophes.

Increase in operational hours

Solar-powered drones have the advantage of running for endless hours— even years— because they are no longer dependent on the limited fuel of an engine. Engine powered drones may require a certain amount of time for a specific task, but if relying on fuel, there is a limited amount of time to carry out these tasks. This can result in less efficacy, as tasks need to be planned according to the amount of time available.

Cheaper to operate

Fuel is an expensive commodity and drones cost a fortune to run due to the amount of fuel needed. Solar-powered drones cut out this cost. There is a fundamental decrease in operational costs making it an extremely cost-effective alternative to fuel.

Less negative effects on the environment

Pollution is one of the main reasons for our deteriorating environment. As with solar-powered vehicles, so too do solar-powered drones avoid poisoning the air. Not only this, but the public is always pro-solar energy and any product replacing fuel with solar energy is welcomed. This obviously effects its popularity on the market in a very decisive way.

Let’s now take a look at a brief history of drones and how they started out. The truth is that idea of drones have been around longer than we think, with one of the first recorded drones from as far back as 1849. Aerial surveillance then came into effect in the Spanish–American War of 1898, when the United States military flew a constructed a kite with an attached camera and successfully captured one of the first aerial photographs in history. World War I saw the horse being replaced by drones for surveillance purposes. World War II introduced a radio-controlled glide bomb. In late 1946, a special branch of the United States Air Force was set up to develop three types of drones to be used in training. The Vietnam War was the start of more sophisticated drones. The Vietnam War was a conflict fought with sophisticated technology— from remote sensors that listened in on enemy movements to jet-powered drones that flew overhead. During the Cold War, the CIA developed other drones and prototypes and tested them at the Area 51 Base. The trend and evolution of drones and their sophistication continued into the 1970’s and 1980’s and played an extensive role in the successful execution of many military operations.

 

The Disadvantages of Solar-Powered Drones

As with any product or piece of machinery, there are always downfalls. For the sake of providing all relevant information about the topic, it is important to address the disadvantages of solar-powered drones, though this should not deter or hamper your view on their positive effect on the market and importance for the future.

Clear weather dependency 

An undeniable short-coming, not only of solar-powered drones, but solar-products in general, is the fact that clear weather is required in order for efficient running. Rainy or cloudy weather will render the drones almost useless. To depend on something as unpredictable as the weather is definitely a negative factor.

Initial Rise in Costs

The initial cost for most solar-powered products is relatively high. The majority of these cost are usually upfront—such as, batteries, wiring and installation. This, however, does not mean that prices will not go down, on the contrary, they will as the drone gradually makes its way onto the market. Although an initial minor short-term disadvantage, it is definitely not a long-term one.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that solar-powered drones will have a conclusive and positive influence on our future, as well as, the future of technology and are destined to flourish on the market. As we have seen, throughout history— drones of all shapes and sizes have been an essential part in the shaping of the world today. With every new innovative improvements and update for already revolutionary devices, the solar-powered drone is one that will change the way we handle most tasks and will enhance those that we undertake today.

Below are some informative and interesting links for information on solar-powered drones:

http://solarindustrymag.com/online/issues/SI1512/FEAT_02_Drones-Are-A-Part-Of-Solar-Power-s-Future.html

https://www.engadget.com/2016/07/21/facebooks-solar-powered-drone-makes-first-full-test-flight/

http://www.iflscience.com/technology/solar-powered-drone-could-fly-nonstop-five-years/

 

You may also like: http://dronetrdr.wpengine.com/q500-typhoon-quadcopter/



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