New Power Systems Help Improve Performance of UAVs

May 28, 2014

ECN MagazineA recent article in ECN by Joshua Israelsohn, “Light UAVs serve both military and civilian missions”, describes how important it is to reduce weight to increase the performance on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Although the media is full of stories about uses for UAVs, from delivering packages to ensuring the country’s security, the technology to enable these applications is still being developed.

Flight times and distances can range from less than an hour’s flight time and a mile range for applications such as site inspection to a full 24 hours in flight for battlefield intelligence, with electrical power being supplied by rechargeable batteries or petroleum fuel and a generator. Whatever the source of the power, Joshua explains that, with most on-board systems operating electrically, power distribution is a critical factor in determining the UAV’s operating range and duration.

Weight, cost and size are not the only factors: an inefficient power system will not only require more energy, but will also dissipate heat, which places limitations on density and proximity to on-board functional loads.

In the article Joshua highlights the benefits of the Vicor VI Chips and the Factorized Power Architecture (FPA), which offer a high performance solution for converting 270 V produced by on-board generators to rails such as a 28 V supply that are required for the payload electronics.

To find out more about power systems for UAVs, read Joshua’s article on the ECN website.

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