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Fuel cells take off

AeroVironment flies its unmanned airplane on hydrogen fuel cell power

The umanned Puma aircraft
The umanned Puma aircraft AeroVironment

As automakers continue to make progress in the field of hydrogen fuel cells here on Earth, a California company is doing the same thing aloft. AeroVironment, a manufacturer of unmanned planes, announced last week that it had flown its Puma aircraft for nearly five hours using an onboard fuel cell battery hybrid energy storage system.

The Puma, which has a wingspan of 8.5 feet and weighs 12.5 pounds, was powered by its standard rechargeable-battery-powered propulsion system (capable of keeping the craft airborne for 2.5 hours), assisted by an onboard fuel-cell-powered battery. The unmanned aircraft incorporates its own avionics system to enable autonomous flight, and relays live video to a ground-based control unit.

While the project is part of a contract for the United States Air Force Research Laboratory to develop advanced propulsion systems for unmanned aircraft, it sounds like an ideal solution for Google's ongoing efforts to take photos of everything.

Via EV World