Robotic Glider Set To Break Autonomous Flight Records

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."

Views: 789

Comment by george on July 12, 2009 at 6:01pm
Any idea what airframe he's using?
Comment by corey on July 12, 2009 at 6:54pm

The link from his website that references the airframe.
Comment by PeteD on July 12, 2009 at 7:31pm
Do you know how they plan to launch it? Specifically, airtow to particular altitude or winch launch?
Comment by automatik on July 12, 2009 at 11:38pm
it will be interesting to see how will he get around FAA regs - 400' AGL, line of sight, etc on an cross country flight
Comment by SciFly on July 13, 2009 at 1:39am
Neat, very promising. At automaik,he will probably follow the glider (if terrain permits) with a team equipped with radios and binoculars.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on July 13, 2009 at 2:44am
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.
Comment by Chris on July 13, 2009 at 3:56am
Wow! :-)
Would any of you know how the glider finds thermal updrafts?
Comment by Not Sure on July 13, 2009 at 6:44am
There are 2 papers on his website which answer nearly all the questions above.....doesn't anyone read the links provided before asking questions?
Comment by Curt Olson on July 13, 2009 at 7:08am
It's always so much more fun to speculate. Real information can just crush an otherwise entertaining and lively discussion!
Comment by yogesh on July 13, 2009 at 8:42am
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...


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