Alta Devices, Airware partner on PV application for drones

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Hanergy subsidiary Alta Devices has teamed up with Airware to enable manufacturers of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to integrate solar power into aircraft.

Alta Devices, which holds the world record for solar cell efficiency at 28.8%, has shown that by integrating its thin and lightweight solar material onto the wings of a small UAV, flight endurance can be increased by more than four times. On certain designs, a solar-enabled UAV can fly all day long under sunny conditions without landing to swap or recharge batteries, according to Alta Devices.

Airware offers hardware, software and cloud services for the development and operation of commercial drones. By partnering with Airware, Alta Devices will be able to bring its AnyLight solar cell technology to a wide range of commercial vehicles operating around the world, the company said.

"This fundamentally changes the utility of small unmanned systems in a number of end markets," said Rich Kapusta, Alta Devices vice president of Sales and Marketing. "For precision agriculture, search and rescue, or land surveying, UAVs need to fly longer and farther than today’s systems provide. The most effective way to increase endurance is by adding solar, and Airware and Alta Devices are making that possible."

Airware Vice President of Product Don Weigel added, "Our customers regularly ask for ways to achieve longer endurance on small UAVs. We are excited about simplifying the task of integrating Alta Device’s impressive solar technology with our onboard systems for those customers."

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