Encyclopedia of Robotics

Living Edition
| Editors: Marcelo H. Ang, Oussama Khatib, Bruno Siciliano

Solar-Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-41610-1_69-1



Solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are uninhabited aircraft that leverage sun radiation to partially or completely power their onboard systems. The reduced load on batteries or other energy storage systems increases both flight endurance and range. When properly designed, the aircraft’s solar panels can generate excess power that recharges the battery over the day. In suitable environmental conditions, the batteries are recharged enough to keep the aircraft airborne throughout the night. This continuous discharge-recharge cycle allows solar-powered multi-day flight and, from an energy perspective, leads to a perpetual flight capability. Robotic technologies optimally complement this long-endurance flight capacity. By providing the aircraft with accurate and robust automatic flight control and guidance, the workload of the operators is reduced significantly.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autonomous Systems LabETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Aníbal Ollero
    • 1
  1. 1.GRVC Robotics Labs. SevillaEscuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería, Universidad de SevillaSevillaSpain