Very nice engineering proof of concept from this team at Queen Mary University in London. Hasn't flown yet, but the airframe design is done. 

(via sUAS News)

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Comment by Gary Mortimer on March 29, 2013 at 11:25am

I wonder if this could be a T3 round.

Comment by Joshua Ott on March 29, 2013 at 1:05pm

It looks like they have been playing around with some novel airframe designs in addition to the solar power.

 

Comment by LanMark on March 29, 2013 at 1:27pm

Sorry to be the naysayer but this really is not going to happen in the format they expect.  I was the assistant director of a solar car project at a university and even with the space grade solar cells, you just don't have the wattage to really make it all that worth while.

Just look at how huge the solar wing has to be to get enough wattage and performance to keep it aloft.

Great example is that if you covered the entire 53' trailer of a semi truck with the best cells you don't have enough wattage to even move the truck forward.

I think I would be more excited about different forms of power over the rare earth metal batteries.. like this liquid metal battery:  http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/flow-batteries-0606.html

Comment by LanMark on March 29, 2013 at 1:29pm

I think you would have to compromise soo much on weight that it simply would get blown around even very little wind.. with such compromise what would be the payload or use?    I think we need to get off silicone in order to find higher efficiency solar.. like the stuff they are doing in nano wire technology.

Comment by MarcS on March 29, 2013 at 5:19pm

It looks like a typical "we´ve done it first" project. Which is fine from an academic/student/publicity point of view. The video is too much focused on the "great possibilities" stuff for me. More technical data would be nice!

Remembers me of the human powered helicopters (and even similar in design)... So I agree with LanMark, it would be blown around..

Just too much

Comment by LanMark on March 30, 2013 at 10:59pm

The thing that comes to mind is the video is just the process they are following.. not the end product which seems highly problematic based on my experience.  I need to make a video of my process of making a warp drive.. and since I don't need to include the actual product and just a 'process video'.. than perfect :)

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