Why Use Gas When You Could Use Lasers? New Technology Could Fuel Unmanned Military Drones
What if — instead of pulling over and refueling at a gas station — you could just point a laser at a solar cell and refuel your vehicle. Well, according to Gizmodo.com, that very technology is being developed for use in unmanned military spy drones.
So, instead of making the drone land so it can be refueled or trying to refuel it in midflight, new technology being developed by Lockheed Martin and LaserMotive, would target a laser at a solar cell on the drone, refill its batteries and let it continue to fly.
That not only represents about a 2,400 percent increase in flight duration, but the system also doesn’t require another aircraft to deliver the fuel boost. Instead, ground-based lasers—from a mobile vehicle or stable delivery platform—simply target the craft’s solar cells while it circles overhead. The initial tests on the Stalker were conducted in a controlled wind tunnel, and at its conclusion the drone’s batteries actually had a greater charge than when the test was started.
So obviously, this technology is in its infancy, and it probably wouldn’t be useful for cars and trucks. BUT, the idea is pretty intriguing that you might be able to carry with you a portable laser and charge an electric car one day. Stranger things have happened.