Small Unmanned Systems

Fly All Day: Endurance is Everything

Empowering Autonomy for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Solar – For small UAS and UAVs

To fly all day, UAS require a renewable energy solution that is both lightweight and powerful.

Hanergy Solar UAV with Alta Devices Solar Technology

Extended Range = Alta Devices + Your UAV

What Could You Do With More Power?

  • Cover more ground
  • Reduce no. of take-offs/landings
  • Reduce fleet size
  • Extend communication range

Alta Devices Solar:

  • Thin, lightweight, and flexible
  • Bends to cover curved wing surfaces
  • Integrates into your design without upsetting aerodynamics

CASE STUDIES: Read our solar unmanned aerial vehicle case studies below on AeroVironment Puma, Naval Research Lab (NRL) and C-Astral Bramor

For small, unmanned systems, increased endurance means less risk of damage to the aircraft and the ability to cover more ground. Alta Devices AnyLight™ power technology gives you as much as 5X more daytime endurance, and at one gram per watt of power, has virtually no impact on aerodynamics.


Selecting Solar for HALE

Learn more about AnyLightTM Technology for Small Solar Drones & UAVs

Solar Power for Small UAVs/Drones

Fly longer and carry more. That’s what every small UAV (SUAV) consumer wants. As the uses for small, electric, commercial SUAVs expand, the demand for SUAVs to stay aloft longer and carry heavier, more powerful payloads constantly increases.

Technology Performance Brief

Selecting Solar Technology for Fixed Wing SUAV Whitepaper

The Alta Advantage

Unmatched Performance

by holding the single junction solar efficiency record at 29.1% we produce more power per unit area than any other solar material

Lightweight and Flexible

Lightweight & Flexible

with a mass of only 170 g/m2, and the ability to bend to cover curved surfaces, we are industry leading in our core design

Seamless Integration

into plastic, carbon fiber, fiberglass, or foam molding along with tailored electrical voltage and current output optimized to your power system

Case Studies

Extended Endurance for Surveying Using the C-Astral Bramor UAS

C-Astral Solar Unmanned Aerial Vehicle UAV UAS with Alta Devices Solar

3 hour flight endurance is extended to 5-8 hour endurance when Alta Devices solar is added

C-Astral is a specialized, fixed wing small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) manufacturer and services provider. C-Astral systems are flying missions for customers globally such as border protection, fire control and surveillance operations.

The industry leading BRAMOR UAS family is electrically powered and is able to achieve superior stability and endurance through its unique advanced Blended Wing Body airframe aerodynamics. It is capable of achieving precise surveying results in the small UAS category down to 0.6 cm, with a Ground Sampling Distance that starts at 0.7 cm.

C-Astral’s latest system, the LRS (long range solar), can fly at least two hours longer with the addition of Alta’s solar technology. This new Bramor enables highly efficient and precise global surveying and sensing capabilities in remote and urban areas. One example application is mapping and surveying of long stretches of road from the sky — finishing the project in only a few days without disrupting traffic; if done from the ground, this kind of work would take two to three months of road closures. The beyond-line-of-sight capability (BVLOS) of the UAV, together with its advanced gas detection and SWIR (short wave infrared) sensors is also suited for pipeline monitoring, replacing manned aircraft systems and helicopters at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, these aircraft can dramatically accelerate and reduce the cost of surveying major railway lines and powerline infrastructure.

The new C-Astral BRAMOR ppX airframe is made of advanced composite materials (Kevlar/Carbon/Vectran) that provide a high level of survivability. Compared with a standard Bramor, the Alta enhanced LRS version adds less than two ounces of weight, while increasing flight time to about 5.5 hours.

This new system is the leading all-electric, high productivity UAV for global surveying and remote sensing in remote areas (where access to fuel is an issue), and in urban areas (where pollution and noise must be contained). The Bramor ppX has an operational ceiling of 14,000 feet and is capable of operating in winds of up to 25 knots. Embedded autonomous flight procedures include an array of fail-safe options based on man-rated standards. It is equipped with a high rate GNSS receiver and IMU precision data-logging electronics.

AeroVironment Puma UAV with Solar Wings

AeroVironment Puma AE

ISSUE: AeroVironment’s Puma is a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) designed to be hand launched. Typically the Puma only has an endurance of 2-3 hours.

SOLUTION: With Alta Devices technology, AeroVironment has the ability to increase the Puma flight time by 6-7 hours — to a total of over 9 hours. Now they can ensure all-day surveillance, helping to save lives during extensive search and rescue missions.

NRL UAV with Solar WIngs

Naval Research Lab Solar-Soaring UAV

ISSUE: The Naval Research Lab (NRL) was studying new ways to increase UAV endurance for future defense programs.

SOLUTION: Using Alta Devices technology, NRL was able to fly their UAV for over 11 hours which set a new record for solar-soaring!

Solar Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) wing

Fully assembled GaAs Wing half (Alta Devices cells)

Alta Devices Excels in Naval Research Lab Solar UAV Shootout

The main limitation currently facing the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) market is the short flight time of these aircraft- that’s where Alta Devices comes in. Alta solar cells offer a way to capture energy while flying without compromising the weight, size, or maneuverability of an aircraft.