Alta Devices and PowerOasis Form Partnership to Leverage Solar Technology and Hybrid Power Systems

Alta Devices and Power Oasis are working together to develop the first reference design for integrated solar and lithium-ion battery power systems.

Alta Devices will supply the solar cell technology while PowerOasis will offer its expertise in hybrid power systems, according to a press release. Air craft designers will be able to use this reference design to manage the complete energy generation, storage and power management system for a small drone—without having to bring the capability in-house. This saves times and resources.

Many aircraft companies are looking to solar energy to provide more endurance for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), according to the release. Battery-powered UAS typically only fly for a few hours; adding solar power could enable these drones to fly all day. The enhanced endurance opens up new possibilities for applications, such as long-distance infrastructure inspections, low range search and rescue operations and precision agriculture on industrial farms.

“In the past, a UAV manufacturer had to work with multiple companies to obtain the solar technology, downstream electronics, and power management software to create a solar/Li-ion hybrid powered system. Then, they had to design the system themselves,” Alta Devices Chief Marketing Officer Rich Kapusta said, according to the release. “By working together and providing a complete architecture for a well-crafted power system, PowerOasis and Alta Devices are streamlining the UAV development process. We are providing a complete system for electric aircraft and UAVs, eliminating the distraction and time required to focus on the intricacies of power design.”

The reference architecture will target 2-4 meter (6.5-13 feet) span drones using 5s-7s Li-ion batteries. The design is expected to be released late this year.