22 May 2015 Fuel cell powered small unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for extended endurance flights
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Abstract
Small unmanned aerial systems (UASs) have been used for military applications and have additional potential for commercial applications [1-4]. For the military, these systems provide valuable intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition (ISRTA) capabilities for units at the infantry, battalion, and company levels. The small UASs are light-weight, manportable, can be hand-launched, and are capable of carrying payloads. Currently, most small UASs are powered by lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries; however, the flight endurance is usually limited less than two hours and requires frequent battery replacement. Long endurance small UAS flights have been demonstrated through the implementation of a fuel cell system. For instance, a propane fueled solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack has been used to power a small UAS and shown to extend mission flight time. The research and development efforts presented here not only apply to small UASs, but also provide merit to the viability of extending mission operations for other unmanned systems applications.
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Deryn Chu, Deryn Chu, R. Jiang, R. Jiang, Z. Dunbar, Z. Dunbar, Kyle Grew, Kyle Grew, J. McClure, J. McClure, } "Fuel cell powered small unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for extended endurance flights", Proc. SPIE 9468, Unmanned Systems Technology XVII, 94680E (22 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2087336; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2087336
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