Laser Power Beaming Aimed At UAVs

A company that won a NASA prize for beaming power to a climber in a space-elevator competition is targeting unmanned aircraft as an initial application for its laser-based technology.


LaserMotive says power beaming could extend the endurance of electrically powered UAVs. The company plans to fly a small internally funded demonstrator by year’s end.




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Comment by Daniel Gru on May 12, 2010 at 11:26am
Would be a great idea. I know it has a high energy consum but it would be worth it, if you could charge your model that way.

Just imagine, you could fly in a 30x30m field, with your drone being recharged whilst circling. That would be awesome.

No more landing at the rc-field guys, just fly all the helis and planes to the landing pad at the back, and pick it up after 20 minutes ;-)
Comment by Overwatch on May 12, 2010 at 12:11pm
That would take a load of creativity to get one's hands on a military-grade multi-kW laser.
Comment by Lew Payne on May 12, 2010 at 6:24pm
@Martin - Don't worry, the multi-kW lasers will start showing up on eBay dirt cheap ($1M or so). Just make sure you buy a long enough extension cord (220V, 3-phase) to reach from your home to the flying field. Then prepare to have your plane circle the flying field for however long it takes to charge it (which will probably be longer than just landing and sticking in a new battery pack). Whoops... here I am, being realistic again. Darn. I spoil everything!
Comment by will y. on May 13, 2010 at 9:20am
The lasers are not super hard to get, and worst case you just use a big array of IR diodes. It shouldn't be too expensive, and if you know people you can get multi-KW IR lasers pretty easily. You just need to use freight shipping :D . But laser charging would be difficult, dangerous and inefficient, so I doubt it's gonna take off for a while.
Comment by Rana on May 13, 2010 at 10:35am
Welcome to LaserMotive...
LaserMotive is a Seattle-based company developing laser power beaming systems to transmit electricity without wires, for applications where wires are either cost prohibitive or physically impractical. As our first project, we won $900,000 in the NASA-sponsored Power Beaming competition, part of the Space Elevator Games.

LaserMotive is founded on our belief in laser power beaming as a “powerful” solution for a variety of applications, near-term and in the future, in space and on the Earth. Recent advances in commercial laser technology are bringing many exciting applications within the reach of economic and technical viability, from powering unmanned aerial vehicles to launching rockets via laser power to beaming limitless solar energy from space to the Earth. The Power Beaming Challenge has been an excellent first step along LaserMotive’s path to demonstrating the physical and economic viability of laser power beaming.

Team Lasermotive Qualifies for a Share of the $900,000 NASA Power Beaming Prize
Comment by Lew Payne on May 13, 2010 at 11:07am
For the typical RC hobbyist, is it cheaper than just landing and changing out battery packs?
Comment by Bert Murray on November 26, 2010 at 2:47pm
Also a startup company in Maryland ,Lighthouse DEV in a joint effort with the University of Maryland is developing a UAV that is powered by a laser.

Lighthouse dev llc
http://www.lhdev.com

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