Energy Analysis for Solar-Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle under Static Soaring

Yansen Wu, Ke Li, Anmin Zhao, Haobo Liu, Yuangan Li, Dongsheng Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Endurance is a critical factor for solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs). Taking inspiration from birds, SUAVs have the ability to harvest extra energy from atmospheric thermal updrafts to extend their endurance. Though recent research has mainly focused on estimating the characteristics of thermal updrafts, there is a noticeable dearth of studies investigating the energy performance of SUAVs during soaring under different conditions. To begin with, this work establishes a thermal updraft and SUAV energy model. In addition, it introduces an integrated guidance and control process to achieve static soaring within thermal for SUAVs. Numerical simulations are implemented to analyze the electric energy performance at different solar irradiation levels, SUAV velocities and thermal strengths. Several remarkable conclusions are drawn from the simulations, which could provide significant insights for SUAVs to further exploit thermal energy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number779
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • energy storage
  • solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle
  • static soaring


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