LaserMotive, a R&D company specializing in laser power beaming and winner of the NASA-sponsored 2009 Power Beaming Competition, has unveiled its blueprint for creating the first endless power system for unmanned aerial vehicles.
The proposed system is based on technology LaserMotive developed for its winning entry in the Power Beaming Competition for a prize of nearly $1 million – the first time any entrant has won the competition.
The new system will use laser power beaming – the wireless transfer of energy from one location to another using laser light – to create an unlimited source of power for unmanned aerial vehicles, one of the largest growth sectors in the aerospace and defense industries. According to industry research firm Teal Group, the market for unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as UAVs) is expected to grow worldwide from $4.9 billion annually to $11.5 billion annually in the next 10 years.
“Today’s announcement marks an important step not only in powering UAVs, but in extending their abilities, improving their endurance and enabling new missions,” said Tom Nugent, president and co-founder of LaserMotive. “Because laser power beaming enables electric aircraft to be recharged in flight, it is especially viable for high-altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles and other types of aircraft that need to power over a long period of time.”
LaserMotive is planning to develop a demonstration model of an airborne vehicle powered by laser before the end of this year. The first working prototypes of the new system could be available within as little as 18 months.
Headquartered in Kent, Wash., LaserMotive is a privately-held R&D company specializing in laser power beaming for commercial applications. The company was co-founded in 2006 by Dr. Jordin Kare, one of the foremost experts on laser propulsion, and Tom Nugent, former Research Director for LiftPort Group. Its industry partners include some of the leading companies in aerospace and lasers, including The Boeing Company, DILAS, MS Kennedy, Ophir Spiricon, 4D Optical, and In-Tec. For more information, including the white paper on LaserMotive’s UAV strategy, please visit the company website at http://www.lasermotive.com.