British wartech-spinoff firm Qinetiq says its solar-powered robot plane has stayed up for 54 hours, surviving the hours of darkness on energy stored in lithium-sulphur batteries. Dubbed "Zephyr," the prototype High Altitude Long Endurance (Hale) flydroid airframe is made of ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre, allowing it to have an …
I take it the batteries were fully charged when it was launched, and it wasn't able to recover that charge in a single day. The article isn't specific, but it'd be interesting to know what percentage of charge it loses per day, even in ideal conditions; the holy grail, I presume, is to recover 100% or more of charge per day, so it can be totally self-sufficient (like the Mars Rovers)?
"Though Qientiq suggests that Zephyr or its like could be handy for various civil applications, there isn't much doubt that they're primarily looking towards a military customer base."
I read that as "military base", and what with the mention of surveillance platforms my immediate mental image was of Captain Scarlet's Cloudbase. And the super-sexy Angels, flying their super-sexy interceptors. So that's Qinetic's game. I bet the government will invent some imaginary Martian threat in order to justify the cost of all this new hardware, the SPVs and the jet packs and so forth.
I hear that Keith Richards can stay up for over 54 hours. The Zephyr obviously isn't as revolutionary as all that.
When I say "stay up" I mean "stay awake". I doubt that Keith Richards can remain tumescent for 54 hours nowadays.
Unless he injects cocaine into his dong.
Not the story, thats a load of vaguely uninteresting endurance flying gubbins which would require an apathy bypass to raise so much as an eyebrow... no, I address Mr Ashley Pomeroy. Your linking of this story with Keith Richards and above all the use of the word "tumescent" is deserving of its own praise. Well done that man.
Solar spyplane .... SunNI AIgent?
:-)"I bet the government will invent some imaginary Martian threat in order to justify the cost of all this new hardware, the SPVs and the jet packs and so forth."
That must have Mars due some Credit on Account of ITs Stealth Configuration, Ashley. I imagine with such Stealth they'd be able to justify themselves as a Qinetic Gamer and enjoy super-sexy treats with a diplomatically silent aplomb.
ooops, didn't think of that!
Here's the problem:
To sustain it's flight, the plane has to continually recharge - that means being in sunlight, above the clouds. However all the bad stuff happens on the ground - below the clouds. If the spy plane wants to see that it'll lose it's charge. I wonder if it would retain enough juice to climb back above cloud level, or can you only use this sort of tech. in places where the sun shines (like White Sands missile base).
Nice idea, but not properly thought out.
Bet you're now glad it's always cloudy in the UK. Now we have 2 reasons to carry umbrellas
British team testing solar power in mexico
Because it would have the record breaking 54 minutes instead of hours if they tried it in good ol' Blighty?
I want one
...so I can spy on my politicians.
They will never get anywhere
with a name Qientic, thats just a silly name I don't like it and I refuse to try and even pronounce it I don't think the military will like it either.
Change the Game, Please....... Your Time is up.
"...so I can spy on my politicians."
Surely they have all been rendered impotent puppets already, wheeled out to perform some vague vacuous muttering for media to carry as carrion to be fed to the dumb masses paying into their piggy bank.
Politics is the hospice of original, innovative thought, not the nursery, for its members are bought to perform to traditional expectation to maintain the Status Quo rather than make any Change to it with IT, and therefore also, Media Controls.
Or would you care to disagree, which would be oxymoronic, would it not?
Have you never wondered why, in the field of human non-conflict, so much is paid, by so many, to so few, for so little, whenever so much is lost and so easily written off as bad debt which was previously touted and pimped as Credit and Value?
Psst ..... Wanna Change the Game and Play AIReal Good Game Beta ........ with NEUKlearer Rules? AIVirtually FailSafe CyberIntelAIgent Play in whatever Dimension you would Care to Choose.
RSVP....... Mars c/o Venus.
Houston, do you have a problem.... and one of them is Denial?
@They will never get anywhere
I don't know if your having a laugh or not but Qinetiq are one of the UKs biggest defence companies. They spun out of the MOD a few years back and tend to be the guys that get all the cool projects. Kind of like the darpa stuff the US does but think comparatively tiny budgets.... they might be able to afford a 747 but no chance are they getting their hands on a nuke busting laser!
Up for two nights?
There was this one time when I went out for just a swift half and small takeaway...
@ ooops, didn't think of that!
You may of heard of someting called radar, I know its a bit cutting edge but I recommend Google, it will tell you all about it
@They will never get anywhere
A lame spelling flame perchance?
I assuming you would be aware that the org is actually named Qinetiq (pronounced like kinetic), a name that is definitly on its way somewhere.
Above the clouds?
FWIW, there's plenty of sunshine below the clouds for battery-recharging.
As far as staying aloft goes, it looks like they're still majorly missing a trick. Sailplanes can happily stay aloft continuously as long as there's sunlight producing thermals (and have been able to since the 1930s). Add some software to teach this thing to thermal, and it'll only need enough juice to keep it up during the night (which is all any of us can ask, fnarr fnarr, Keef Richards, etc.)
Of course, that won't help in places where there's no thermals (such as most of northern Europe for six months of the year), but then the current war on oil-producers<del><del><del>terror is happening somewhere where the only question on the weather forecast is exactly how hot and sunny it's going to be tomorrow.