DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, AND TESTING OF A SOLAR-POWERED, MULTIROTOR, UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE
Gleason, Brian P.
Michael, Sherif N.
Jones, Kevin D.
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A ground force commander (GFC) is in a constant fight to maintain complete situational awareness of his or her respective area of operations (AO). This means being aware of all friendly and enemy movement in his AO, and being able to quickly identify new threats and neutralize them efficiently. One of the greatest tools at an AO's disposal for achieving these objectives is the utilization of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aerial platforms. While these platforms are incredible assets, they are often remotely controlled by a higher headquarters, and sensor coverage time is usually shared between multiple ground units spread across numerous AOs. This means that the GFC rarely has access to the sensor as often and for as long as desired. Therefore, the impetus of this thesis is to design, build, and test an ISR platform, controlled by a team on the battlefield, which is capable of virtually uninterrupted sensor coverage due to utilization of a photovoltaic solar array as a power supply. This study includes computer-assisted design, 3D printing, multirotor technology, solar energy absorption, maximum power point tracking, energy storage, and full-motion video relays to achieve the objective.
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