Application of copper indium gallium diselenide photovoltaic cells to extend the endurance and capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles
Hurd, William R.
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In this thesis, we investigate the advantages of modifying current military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) with available thinfilm photovoltaic (PV) cells to increase their endurance, and/or capabilities. The approach taken was to explore available off-theshelf flexible solar technology and to integrate it in a proof-of-concept model for testing and analysis. A physically similar commercially available battery-powered plane was used to demonstrate the materials and methods by which the RQ-11B (Raven) Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SUAV) could be modified. This research extends academic and private pursuit of solar flight to near-term improvement of military SUAV. Besides increasing on-station time of reconnaissance assets, this research also displays the additional advantage of enabling systems on the ground to "self-charge." This will enable tactical units to operate further afield, untethered from conventional power sources. Beyond the proof-of-concept, findings are extended to other potential military uses and greater improvement through new or modified UAV design.
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