Technology from LaserMotive (Kent, WA) converts electricity to light using lasers, and projects that light onto a specialized solar cell array, which then converts the light back into electricity. The “wireless extension cord” delivers thousands of watts at ranges up to many kilometers.

A quadrocopter uses LaserMotive technology.
The wireless transmission of power via laser is useful in situations where it is impractical or uneconomical to run wires, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), unattended sensors, communication towers, forward operating bases, and disaster relief.

Wireless power increases the endurance of unmanned aerial vehicles and enables larger or more power-hungry payloads. With a demonstrated specific power of 800 W/kg (and designs going above 1,000 W/kg), LaserMotive’s laser power receivers provide energy density and endurance with no impact to payload. UAVs can either be powered continuously while staying within line of sight of the transmitter, or they can recharge and then fly out of sight for extended missions.

LaserMotive has demonstrated wireless power on multiple UAVs. In 2010, the company’s technology continuously supplied the Ascending Technologies Pelican quadrocopter, equipped with only a 5-minute battery, for 12.5 hours. In 2012, its devices powered the Lockheed Martin Stalker fixed-wing UAS for more than 48 hours of continuous operation; the technology demonstrated power-positive outdoor field operation of the entire system. Proof-of-concept flights in desert conditions were demonstrated at ranges up to 600 meters.

Power can be transmitted via fiber optic cable or through open air. Power over Fiber (PoF) enables lightweight, low-drag, neutrally-buoyant power delivery to underwater vehicles and sensors. PoF is also a key feature of the InvisiTower, a small tethered quadrocopter which can be an “instant tower” for portable area surveillance or elevated communications relays. The InvisiTower does not require an operator, and can be rapidly deployed, stowed, and transported.

Kent, WA

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