Autonomous Solar UAV for Sustainable Flights

  • A. North
  • R. Siegwart
  • W. Engel
Part of the Intelligent Systems, Control and Automation: Science and Engineering book series (ISCA, volume 33)


Development of a solar powered aircraft capable of continuous flight was still a dream a few years ago; this great challenge has become reality today. Significant progress has been made in the domains of flexible solar cells, high energy density batteries, miniaturized MEMS and CMOS sensors and powerful processors.


Solar Panel Maximum Power Point Tracker Wing Area Level Flight Unman Aerial Vehicle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Berry P., “The Sunriser — A Design Study in Solar Powered Flight”, World Aviation Conference, San Diego, CA, October 2000.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Boucher R. I, “History of Solar Flight”, AIAA Paper 84–1429, 1984.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brass H., Solar Modellflug Grundlagen, Enwicklung, Praxis, Verlag für Technik und Handwerk, Baden-Baden, 1991.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Buccieri D., Mullhaupt P., Jiang Z., Bonvin D., “Velocity Scheduling Controller for a Nonholonomic Mobile Robot”, Proceedings, IEEE Chinese Control Conference, 2006.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Colozza A. I, “Preliminary Design of a Long-Endurance Mars Aircraft”, Proceedings, 26 th Joint Propulsion Conference, AIAA 90–2000, Orlando, FL, July 1990.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Colozza A.J., Effect of Power System Technology and Mission Requirements on High Altitude Long Endurance Aircraft, NASA CR 194455, February 1994.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Duffie J. A., Beckman W. A., Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes, Second Edition, New York Wiley-Interscience, 1991.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hall D. W., Hall S. A., Structural Sizing of a Solar Powered Aircraft, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, NASA Contractor Report 172313, 1984.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Keidel B., Auslegung und Simulation von Hochfliegenden, Dauerhaft Stationierbaren Solardrohnen, PhD Thesis, Lehrstuhl für Flugmechanik und Flugregelung, Technische Universität München, 2000.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    MacCready P. B., Lissaman P. B. S., Morgan W. R., “Sun-Powered Aircraft Designs”, Journal of Aircraft, Vol. 20, No. 6, June 1983.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mattio A., Modeling and Control of the UAV Sky-Sailor, Master Project Report, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, 2006.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    McCormick B. W., Aerodynamics, Aeronautics and Flight Mechanics, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1995.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Noth A., Engel W., Siegwart R., “Design of an Ultra-Lightweight Autonomous Solar Airplane for Continuous Flight”, Proceedings, Field and Service Robotics, Port Douglas, Australia, 2005.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Noth A., Engel W., Siegwart R., “Flying Solo and Solar to Mars”, IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Special Issue on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2006.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Patel C, The Design and Fabrication of a Solar Powered Model Aircraft, B. Tech Thesis, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Bombay, 2002.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Phillips W. H., “Some Design Considerations for Solar-Powered Aircraft”, NASA Technical Paper 1675, 1980.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Romeo G., Fralla G., “HELIPLAT: High Altitude Very-Long Endurance Solar Powered UAV for Telecommunication and Earth Observation Applications”, The Aeronautical Journal, 108, 277–293, 2004.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rizzo E., Frediani A., “A Model for Solar Powered Aircraft Preliminary Design”, Proceedings, ICCES 04, Vol. 1, 39–54, Madeira, Portugal, 2004.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shyy W., Berg M., Ljungqvist D., “Flapping and Flexible Wings for Biological and Micro Air Vehicles”, Progress in Aerospace Science, 35:455–506, 1999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Stender W., Sailplane Weight Estimation, Organisation Scientifique et Technique Internationale du vol a Voile, 1969.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Stinton D., The Design of the Aeroplane, Second Edition, Blackwell Science Oxford, UK, 2001.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tennekes H., The Simple Science of Flight, From Insects to Jumbo Jets, MIT Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Tozer T. C, Grace D., Thompson I, and Baynham P., “UAVs and HAPs Potential Convergence for Military Communications”, IEE Colloquium on “Military Satellite Communications ”, 6 th June of 2000.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Voit-Nitschmann R., Solarund Elektroflugzeuge Geschichte und Zukunft, Jahrbuch aus Lehre und Forschung der Universität Stuttgart, Online Jahrbuch 2001.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Youngblood J. W., Talay T. A., Pegg R. J., “Design of Long-Endurance Unmanned Airplanes Incorporating Solar and Fuel Cell Propulsion”, Proceedings, AIAA /SAE/ASME 20 th Joint Propulsion Conference, 1984.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer. Printed in the Netherlands 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. North
  • R. Siegwart
    • 1
  • W. Engel
    • 2
  1. 1.Autonomous Systems LaboratoryETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Mechanical Engineer/DesignerArvenweg 6aEinsiedelnSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations