Sunlight Photonics Inc has launched SUNLINK-5, a small solar UAV for commercial and civil applications in the low to medium altitude range. Its primary power source comes from sunlight, which enables SUNLINK-5 to perform day-long missions. Sunlight Photonics’ UAVs are suitable for a variety of applications, including wireless communications, precision agriculture, land surveys, wildfire and wildlife monitoring, border patrol and so on.
SUNLINK-5 is a very unique, state-of-the-art platform in the modern UAV industry. It is the first commercially available solar UAV, which is capable of operating exclusively on solar power. Its current flight endurance is second to none in its class size. Unlike light-weight, solar-powered UAV prototypes that were demonstrated before, SUNLINK-5 is a very robust and durable vehicle able to withstand multiple launches and landings, high winds, heavy turbulence and very demanding applications.
SUNLINK-5 has a unique airframe made from robust composite materials with integrated solar cells, which together enable effective collection of solar energy. It is aerodynamically efficient and capable of carrying up to 5kg payloads, while providing about 100W of electrical power. SUNLINK-5 can operate at altitudes up to 10,000 feet, providing persistent presence in excess of 8 hours. A complete system includes the autopilot, ground control station and associated software, which greatly simplify UAV operations and dramatically enhance end-user experience.