Renewable Energy Program Funds Project For Solar-Powered Drones


With a goal of creating a ‘solar soaring power management system’ for unmanned aircraft, Fargo, N.D.-based Packet Digital LLC has been awarded a research and development grant from the North Dakota Industrial Commission's Renewable Energy Program (REP).

The power management company was funded $350,000 to further its goal of using solar energy to double unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flight times and, ultimately, provide unlimited endurance. Total project costs are estimated at $1 million.

Packet Digital's patented power management architecture achieves power savings in applications including laptops, handsets, servers and embedded devices.

According to the commission, the UAS project has the potential to create manufacturing and development opportunities in North Dakota for a variety of products, including solar arrays and unmanned aircraft.

The legislature established the REP in 2007 to provide funding for research, development, marketing and education to foster the growth of renewable energy, including wind, biofuels, biomass, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and hydrogen.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission consists of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

Packet Digital recently teamed up with Aerobotic Innovations LLC to form Botlink LLC, which is launching a cloud-based operations platform for UAVs.

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