Design, development, and initial testing of a computationally-intensive, long-endurance solar-powered unmanned aircraft

Or D. Dantsker, Mirco Theile, Marco Caccamo, Renato Mancuso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In recent years, we have seen an uptrend in the popularity of UAVs driven by the desire to apply these aircraft to areas such as precision farming, infrastructure and environment monitoring, surveillance, surveying and mapping, search and rescue missions, weather forecasting, and more. The traditional approach for small size UAVs is to capture data on the aircraft, stream it to the ground through a high power data-link, process it remotely (potentially off-line), perform analysis, and then relay commands back to the aircraft as needed. All the mentioned application scenarios would benefit by carrying a high performance embedded computer system to minimize the need for data transmission. A major technical hurdle to overcome is that of drastically reducing the overall power consumption of these UAVs so that they can be powered by solar arrays. This paper describes the work done to date developing the 4.0 m (157 in) wingspan, UIUC Solar Flyer, which will be a long-endurance solar-powered unmanned aircraft capable of performing computationally-intensive on-board data processing. A mixture of aircraft requirements, trade studies, development work, and initial testing will be presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2018 Applied Aerodynamics Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105593
StatePublished - 2018
Event36th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, 2018 - [state] GA, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2018Jun 29 2018

Publication series

Name2018 Applied Aerodynamics Conference


Other36th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
City[state] GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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