Tackling the European refugee crisis with solar-powered UAVs: A fully-autonomous 26-hour Search-and-Rescue flight.


This gallery contains 12 photos.

One year after having demonstrated the 81-hour continuous solar-powered flight that is still the current world record in flight endurance for all aircrafts < 50kg total mass, the AtlantikSolar UAV has completed its next milestone by demonstrating the first-ever fully-autonomous … Continue reading

AtlantikSolar@Brazil: Challenging aerial inspection around a severe ship disaster

One of the prime applications that we are targeting with our solar-powered UAVs is to provide aerial support in large-scale disasters. From October 21st – 31st, in the Aventura AtlantikSolar@Brazil project, we had the chance to directly support our Brazilian partners through the first real-life (i.e. outside of research projects) disaster support mission with AtlantikSolar. Requested by SIPAM (Brazilian Amazon Protection System, part of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense), we were tasked to perform aerial sensing and mapping around the site of a disaster – a sunken ship that involved over 4400 dead cattle and 750t of oil spill – that had happened 2 weeks before.

Continue reading

ICARUS: Supporting maritime & land Search-and-Rescue missions from the air

In September, ASL’s fixed-wing team participated in the final land-based Search-and-Rescue demonstration of the EU-funded ICARUS project in Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium. Aerial robots, including ASL’s long-endurance AtlantikSolar UAV, where tasked to perform mapping and inspection missions in order to support ground robots and the Belgian B-FAST first response team in their relief efforts. Our UAVs stayed airborne for around 4 hours, all while providing live imagery of the disaster area to ground-based relief teams and the interested public. A video of the event is shown below, further information about the event can be found here.

Continue reading

Towards autonomous flight

To allow ultra-long endurance waypoint-following flights such as those over the Atlantic, the AtlantikSolar UAV has to be capable of (control-wise) fully autonomous flight. To achieve this goal, we’ve been using smaller test-planes to test our autopilot hardware and flight capabilities in the last months. A first fully autonomous waypoint-navigation flight was achieved with a test plane in the beginning of January. The next step will now include the application and testing of the same control hardware and software to the AtlantikSolar UAV.

The video below shows the aforementioned test plane (Multiplex EasyGlider) with the integrated Pixhawk PX4 and the Autopilot, both developed at ETH Zurich. Both of these components are also integrated in the AtlantikSolar prototype. The video was recorded on February 3rd for a demonstration within the European ICARUS project.

A first view from above…

ViewFromAboveWe’ve uploaded a short video showcasing the on-board view from the AtlantikSolar prototype aircraft, as seen during AtlantikSolar’s fifth flight test event on July 2nd. The four flights performed during that day verified the aircraft’s power characteristics and the aircraft state estimator which is necessary for autonomous flight. Have a look at the video here !