Tiny Spyplanes May Recharge On Power Lines

A small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) able to recharge on power lines is under development by Defense Research Associates (DRA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The PLUS (Power Line Urban Sentry) program UAVs will operate in confined urban spaces.


(UAV to recharge on power lines)

One of the major disadvantages of UAVs is that their small size limits their power supply, and therefore their usefulness. Patrick Marshall, a senior electronics engineer at AFRL, began investigating methods of charging small UAVs by flying them close to power lines. But the process was inefficient. "The best we could get was micro-watts of power," he said.

So Marshall built a toroidal test box that clamped around a power line to draw energy from the cable. The design was successful, though the latch mechanism needed work. Phase II of the project involves the development of a power-line navigation ability. If GPS is jammed or unavailable, the power grid itself could guide the UAV.

The first prototype tests are expected in 2008.

In his excellent 1980 science/fantasy novel Changeling, Roger Zelazny describes small, autonomous surveillance craft called 'tracer-birds' that were also able to recharge far from home to continue operations:

The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread. Had there been an eye to observe them, it might not even have noted their minute, tropism-like pursuit of the sun across the sky as they recharged their batteries for the night's flight.
(Read more about Roger Zelazny's tracer-birds)

Other methods of recharging UAVs are under development: take a look at Autonomous Soaring Project UAV Cloud Swift. Hawks and eagles glide on currents of rising warm air called thermals to extend their flight time without needing more fuel. Why not UAVs?

Via Military.com.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/18/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

China's Drone Fleet Flies In Formation
'Programmed to hang... in a hexagonal grid pattern.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

RFID Chipped Employees Of Three Square Market
'About a third of the people in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip...' - John Twelve Hawks, 2015.

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.

Cyborg DragonflEye At Your Command
'The dragonfly responded like a toy airplane, taking off and heading east...'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Biggest HiSeas 'Mars Mission' Problem? No Internet
I think sf writers have this covered!

Clever Electric Truck Generates More Power Than It Uses
Better than a fictional electrotruck!

Eden-ISS, Greenhouse In Antarctica
'With this kind of light we could get the gardens going again."

Make Space Tools On The Spot (Like Moties)
'A moment ago it was squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon...'

Will Robots Be Moral If We Raise Them Like Our Children?
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

Foldable Galaxy Phones, I Swear They're Coming (Maybe)
How hard can it be?

Bacteria Behave Differently In Space
'The Republic struggled to control its Sours...'

Brain Connected To Internet - ‘Brainternet'
Fascinating!

Artificial Spider Silk
You can also use it to make a roof - on an asteroid.

MIT Tunes Ions For Frictionless Surface - Superlubricity!
'My telelubricator here neutralizes the interatomic bonds the surface of any solid...'

Seiko Astron Always Knows Your Time Zone
'Harrington glanced at his wrist watch - a bulky affair - and whistled.'

Robot Buddhist Priest Chants, Drums
'He crossed the waiting room to the Padre booth...'

Koniku Kore, Mouse Brain-Based Chip, Detects Explosives
'As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever.'

CNH Industrial Autonomous Tractor Concept Video
'...the tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'

The Neuroon Open Sleep Tracker For Lucid Dreaming
'Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer on the bedside shelf.'

Siri Now Smoother, Perkier (Thanks, Deep Learning!)
'Good morning, Dr. Chandra. This is Hal.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.