Dawn of the Drone – Electric UAVs in the coming decade

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Thousands of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be deployed in the next few years for both civil and military missions. Early adoption of new technologies is also expected: from smart skin to structural components and intelligent motors with integral gearing. This, according to a new report from reportbuyer.com.

Electric power makes the use of wheel power for take-off possible, because electric motors can give maximum torque from a stationary position. It also features near silent operation, both in the air and on the ground.

UASs (unmanned aerial systems) fly with virtually no noise or gaseous emissions – a valued feature in both military and civil applications. For long range UAVs, where batteries are inadequate and hybrid powertrains are necessary, silent take-off and landing is still feasible.

Industry experts have told i-HLS that electric power seems the best and most widely proven solution in the framework of the design and development of new forms of UAV; intelligently swarming robot flies being just one example of new missions made possible by electric power in UAVs.

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Development projects are currently underway focusing on unmanned aircraft harvesting power from winds at altitude using kites and beaming it to earth. Other UAVs are held aloft by lasers and one other project will result in upper atmosphere UAVs that stay aloft for five years – just on sunshine.

There is a concept of a military UAV, maybe hybrid electric, which performs its mission and then dives like a gannet and hides underwater. Vertical take-off and landing UAVs are now commonplace, the best known being drones that can be programmed in a desired pattern of flight but there are also military and professional civil versions being deployed.

This unique report examines what will be achieved and the enabling technologies that will make new features and missions possible. The PhD level analysts at IDTechEx have been studying the subject for many years and initially they encompassed much of this analysis in a popular report on electric aircraft of all sorts. However, there is now so much happening in UAVs alone that this report has been prepared to focus on UAVs alone. No other report is as up-to-date and insightful about this subject.