Development of a Solar-Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Extended Flight Endurance

Yauhei Chu, Chunleung Ho, Yoonjo Lee, Boyang Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Having an exciting array of applications, the scope of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) application could be far wider one if its flight endurance can be prolonged. Solar-powered UAV, promising notable prolongation in flight endurance, is drawing increasing attention in the industries’ recent research and development. This work arose from a Bachelor’s degree capstone project at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The project aims to modify a 2-metre wingspan remote-controlled (RC) UAV available in the consumer market to be powered by a combination of solar and battery-stored power. The major objective is to greatly increase the flight endurance of the UAV by the power generated from the solar panels. The power system is first designed by selecting the suitable system architecture and then by selecting suitable components related to solar power. The flight control system is configured to conduct flight tests and validate the power system performance. Under fair experimental conditions with desirable weather conditions, the solar power system on the aircraft results in 22.5% savings in the use of battery-stored capacity. The decrease rate of battery voltage during the stable level flight of the solar-powered UAV built is also much slower than the same configuration without a solar-power system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number44
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Endurance extension
  • Flight experiments
  • Solar-powered
  • UAV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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