Kent, WA--LaserMotive, a company specializing in laser power beaming, is showcasing a demonstration model of a laser-powered remote-controlled helicopter at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America 2010 Conference (August 24 to 27, Denver, CO, booth 227).
LaserMotive was co-founded in 2006 by Jordin Kare, an expert in laser propulsion, and Tom Nugent, former research director for LiftPort Group. Its industry partners include DILAS (Tucson, AZ), Ophir-Spiricon (Logan, UT), The Boeing Company, MS Kennedy, 4D Optical, and In-Tec. (Laser propulsion comes in more than one form: there are air vehicles equipped with photovoltaic cells and electric motors and powered by the light received from a beam; there are also vehicles in which received laser power thermally heats and expands a fuel.)
All-day, eye-safe, in-booth flying
The demo, which uses a tethered remote-controlled helicopter, is eye-safe and has been designed to fit inside LaserMotive's booth at the show. In lab tests conducted by LaserMotive, the laser-powered helicopter has flown for nearly two hours, making it the longest duration laser-powered helicopter flight on record. The helicopter will be flown all day long during the four-day conference, says LaserMotive.
According to the company, today's announcement is part of a series of strategic steps the company is taking as part of its long-term blueprint to develop a full-scale laser power system for unmanned aerial vehicles, which the company announced earlier this year. LaserMotive's next step is to demonstrate power beaming to a larger, free-flying UAV.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are currently one of the one of the largest growth sectors in the aerospace and defense industries. According to industry research firm Teal Group, the market for UAVs is expected to grow worldwide from $4.9 billion annually to $11.5 billion annually in the next 10 years.
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