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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 06:06 AM
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Small UAVs May Recharge on Power Lines

Small UAVs May Recharge on Power Lines
Aviation Week's DTI | Bettina H. Chavanne | December 13, 2007

This article first appeared in Aviation Week's DTI. Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are effective battlefield surveillance platforms. But they suffer from limited battery power, which affects their range and their sensors' effectiveness, often making them expendable.

A solution may lie in overhead power lines. A program by Defense Research Associates (DRA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) seeks to develop a small UAV that can land on a power line and recharge its battery by drawing energy from the cable.

The PLUS (Power Line Urban Sentry) program seeks to create an autonomous, reusable platform with a long range that operates in confined areas, such as an urban battlefield. Surveillance and data collection would be improved because sensors recharge with the battery.

Dayton, Ohio-based DRA has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the Defense Dept. and is currently working on prototypes with AFRL in Phase II of the program.

The effort began three years ago when 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 says.

Rest of article at:,15240,158240,00.html
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