3D Robotics
From Slashdot: "Dan Edwards, a student at NC State University, is attempting to break two records by creating an autonomous glider. The project goal is a 142-mile cross country flight and a 25-mile flight (with return) without human intervention. The glider finds thermal updrafts and automatically circles them to gain altitude, much like birds and insects do. Recently, the glider flew in the desert for 4.5 hours, covering 70.5 miles by itself using only air currents to stay aloft. Since the NC State demonstration vehicle does not have a motor, this shows real promise for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that actually have a motor, with possibilities of extending flight duration considerably. Combine daytime soaring with a solar energy system to charge batteries for the night, such as the 84-hour flight by QinetiQ's Zephyr, and you might just get an answer to flying for months on end. With this kind of endurance, the eye in the sky that the city of Lancaster is considering might be even more practical."
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  • Obviously not…
  • This is good! btw, I am guessing this is the same project about which Chris was talking to the show hosts on one of the podcasts on All Things That Fly...
  • It's always so much more fun to speculate. Real information can just crush an otherwise entertaining and lively discussion!
  • There are 2 papers on his website which answer nearly all the questions above.....doesn't anyone read the links provided before asking questions?
  • Wow! :-)
    Would any of you know how the glider finds thermal updrafts?
  • Moderator
    I have been following him for quite a while, his site is a wealth of knowledge. Some really fantastic stories to be found there. Good on him.
  • Neat, very promising. At automaik,he will probably follow the glider (if terrain permits) with a team equipped with radios and binoculars.
  • it will be interesting to see how will he get around FAA regs - 400' AGL, line of sight, etc on an cross country flight
  • Do you know how they plan to launch it? Specifically, airtow to particular altitude or winch launch?
  • http://www.rnrproducts.com/airframes/gliders/xbxc.htm

    The link from his website that references the airframe.
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