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Laser power beaming for UAVs

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KENT, WASHINGTON (BNS): A Seattle-based R&D Company, LaserMotive has recently unveiled a strategy through which lasers can transmit power to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in flight, giving them potentially unlimited endurance aloft.

The new system will supply unlimited power, extend UAV abilities and will also enable new missions, according to a news release by LaserMotive.

The proposed system is based on a technology which the company developed for its winning entry in the Power Beaming Competition for a prize of nearly $1 million.

The new system will use laser power beaming the wireless transfer of energy from one location to another using laser light to create an unlimited source of power for unmanned aerial vehicles, one of the largest growth sectors in the aerospace and defense industries.

The laser power beaming will enable the electric aircraft to recharge in flight. It is especially viable for high-altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles and other types of aircraft which needs to power itself over a long period of time.

"It is an important step not only in powering UAVs, but in extending their abilities, improving their endurance and enabling new missions," said Tom Nugent, President and Co-founder of LaserMotive.

According to the 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, as reported in the release.

LaserMotive is currently planning to develop a demonstration model of an airborne vehicle powered by laser before the end of this year. The first working prototypes of the new system could be completed within 18 months.

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