Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works and LaserMotive, a small start-up near Seattle, are developing a system to power unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as they fly. LaserMotive president Tom Nugent says the system is a “wireless extension cord” that saves time and money and lowers risk by enabling electric UAVs to keep flying without landing to recharge or replace their batteries.
The Stalker, a drone favoured by special operations forces, is being used in ground-to-air recharging experiments. During a recent demonstration, engineers conducted a series of flight tests over a desert range in which the system beamed power to a Stalker flying as high as 600 metres. The system’s laser-beam director tracked the drone’s receiver “with centimetre accuracy despite turbulence and aircraft manoeuvres”, according to Lockheed officials.
Watch this video to find out how Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive are driving advances in technology to extend the flight endurance of the Stalker UAS…
Credits: Lockheed Martin