This solar-powered drone can fly for a YEAR without needing to be serviced

Beyond hobbyists, drones are being increasingly used in industries right across the spectrum; from agriculture and policing, right up to their well-established use on movie sets. Drones are even being primed for use as delivery agents for companies like Amazon and DHL

Yet they have one annoying practicality issue – they don’t stay in the air for long without needing to be recharged.

Now, BAE Systems and UK firm, Prismatic have developed a solar-powered drone that can fly for up to a year without requiring any maintenance. 

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The unmanned aerial vehicle, which is due to take flight in 2019, will use its solar panels to store power from the sun to charge through the day and fly throughout the night. The drone, called PHASA-35, has a 35m wingspan and weighs just 150kg, making it lightweight enough to fly at very high altitudes.

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“Prismatic is a fast-paced and forward-thinking company and PHASA-5 is a great example of what the team can achieve in a short space of time,” said Michael Christie, BAE Systems’ air sector strategy director. “We were keen to invest in the programme as part of our long-term strategy to explore new technologies in air and space.”

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Back in 2017, BAE Systems and Prismatic launched a quarter-scale version of the drone, called PHASE-8, which completed its journey.

The news comes as China-based Ehang this week broke Intel’s world record for the largest drone display, deploying over 1,374 drones into the sky. The show didn’t go off without a hitch, however, with half the drones failing to take off and fly into the right position. 

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