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US military plans to power UAVs which can fly ‘indefinitely’ using lasers

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We’ve written several previous stories highlighting how the major factor holding drone development back is poor battery life. The vast majority of drones, whether commercial or consumer, can fly for less than an hour – most consumer drones stay in the air between 15 minutes and half an hour. Two proposed solutions to this problem are hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-metal batteries. Lasers could represent a new direction for this technology entirely. Whether this method of powering drones would be practical for anything other than military applications is not yet known. One assumes that the laser is fired at the drone intermittently to recharge the cells, rather than constantly. You would also want assurances that the beam was extremely accurate and wouldn’t accidentally blast into the eyes of some pilot.

What’s next for this project?

According to Futurism, the Army are looking to have the system ready to power drones on the ground by 2019 and in the air in 2020. The next hurdle would be getting permission from regulators. We’ll keep you

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