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UAV Technologies

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  • Design of a Fuel Cell Powered UAV for Environmental Research
    (Uche C. Ofoma and Chivey C. Wu
    California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 9003

    This paper describes the design of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intended for use as a remote sensing tool. Rationale behind the design goals are stated as well as the challenges of designing and fielding such a unique vehicle. Although fuel cells are not new, their integration with autonomous aircraft presents an interesting design problem. Analysis completed on a baseline configuration is covered and issues concerning fuel cell weight, size and cost are detailed. The paper presents an alternate approach to meeting the goal of developing a reliable fuel cell powered UAV for environmental research. This approach uses a smaller UAV as a test bed for major aircraft components. It is hoped that this design methodology will eventually provide ecologists with a robust and affordable method of conducting local scale, high resolution remote sensing and aerial photography.
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