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An overview of the global solar-powered UAV market 2017-2021

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The drone market is one of the fastest growing in the world and the solar-powered UAV segment in particular is projected to grow at a rate of 12.65% between 2017 and 2021.

Many UAVs are powered by either internal combustion engines or electrical motors, but recent developments made UAVs powered by photovoltaic cells, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrid-electric propulsions engines possible. Like many other solar devices, solar-powered UAVs use photovoltaic cell panels to absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. This provides the engines with the power they need to move.

A proton exchange membrane, or PEM, makes it possible for a UAV to fly for six months without need for rest. AeroVironment’s Helios concept in 1999 was one of the first to use a PEM-based fueling system. AeroVironment completed research on the Helios concept with funding from the US government’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA.

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Helios in flight

Applications for such drones are widespread with both commercial and defense sectors perfect targets for the technology.

The report Global Solar-powered UAV Market 2017-2021 compiles in-depth analysis with inputs from a wide-variety of industry experts. It not only discusses the major players in the drone market but also the growth prospects for the sector. Special attention is paid to AeroVironment, Airbus, Alphabet, Facebook, and Thales Group.

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