To carry significant payload, solar drones have trended historically too large of wingspans subject to stress and structural failure. Sunlight has developed inherently stable and robust Sunlink airframe designs scaled down for formation flight in swarms called Sunfleets with distributed power and functionality. Sunfleet formations essentially synthesize via software control the effective lift/drag of large wingspans. Sunfleets can be optimally sized for performance, resilience, endurance, and manufacturability.
Notable innovations include:
Flight Control System and Communication Software
Sunlight has developed software for optimal flight control, power management, and communications operations.
Sunlight has developed proprietary PV technology including stoichiometric single step deposition processes and thin-film multijunction cells to realize high efficiency and high specific power flex modules. These technologies are well suited for integration into the Sunlink drones.
Sunlight is developing multi-functional skins which combine the functions of PV power communications antennae and anti-icing. This functional integration not only reduces the weight but provides a robust structural skin which enhances the airframe design and construction. Additional functionalities are being introduced for mission-specific applications.
Payloads are distributed across the drones in a Sunfleet. They can have similar or different functionality and be interconnected in a local network. The distribution provides many advantages including scaling, reliability, reconfiguration, and more.