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Power Sources for Micro-Autonomous Vehicles- Challenges and ProspectsMicro-autonomous vehicle systems are expected to have expanded role in military missions by providing full spectrum intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support on the battlefield, suppression of enemy defenses, and enabling co-operative (swarm-like) configurations. Of the numerous demanding requirements of autonomy, sensing, navigation, mobility, etc., meeting the requirement of mission duration or endurance is a very challenging one. This requirement is demanding because of the constraints of mass and volume that limit the quantity of energy that can be stored on-board. Energy is required for mobility, payload operation, information processing, and communication. Mobility requirements typically place an extraordinary demand on the specific energy (Wh/kg) and specific power (W/kg) of the power source; the actual distribution of the energy between mobility and other system functions could vary substantially with the mission type. The power requirements for continuous mobility can vary from 100-1000 W/kg depending on the terrain, ground speed and flight speed. Even with the power source accounting for 30% of the mass of the vehicle, the best of rechargeable batteries can provide only up to 1-2 hours of run-time for a continuous power demand at 100W/kg. In the case of micro-aerial vehicles with flight speed requirements in the range of 5-15 m s-1, the mission times rarely exceed 20 minutes [2]. Further, the power required during take-off and hover can be twice or thrice that needed for steady level flight, and thus the number and sequence of such events is also limited by the mass and size of the power source. For operations such as "perch and stare" or "silent watch" the power demand is often only a tenth of that required during continuous flight. Thus, variation in power demand during various phases of the mission importantly affects the power source selection.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Narayan, S. R.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Kisor, A.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Valdez, T. I.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Manohara, H.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 18, 2015
Publication Date
April 13, 2009
Subject Category
Cybernetics, Artificial Intelligence And Robotics
Meeting Information
Meeting: SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing Conference
Location: Orlando, FL
Country: United States
Start Date: April 13, 2009
End Date: April 17, 2009
Sponsors: International Society for Optical Engineering
Distribution Limits
fuel cells

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