Solar-Powered Micro-air Vehicles and Challenges in Downscaling

  • André NothEmail author
  • Roland Siegwart


In many aerial vehicles applications, the flight duration is a key factor for the success of a mission. A solution to improve significantly this endurance is the use of solar energy. This chapter presents a conceptual design methodology for the sizing of solar-powered airplanes, applicable to MAVs as well as to manned sailplanes, that optimizes the sizing of the different elements. It uses mathematical models, for weight prediction for example, that were studied on a very large range. This allows to clearly point out the problems that occur when scaling down solar MAVs.


Solar Cell Solar Panel Maximum Power Point Tracker Reference Length Wing Surface 
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.



 The authors would like to thank Walter Engel for the outstanding contributions on the realization of the Sky-Sailor prototype and also Niels Diepeveen and Beat Fuchs for their work on the two successive versions of Sun-Surfer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autonomous Systems LabETHZZürichSwitzerland

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