US Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground United States
Micro vehicles MVs are projected to play an increasing role in both civilian and military applications. However, even with minimal payload, present day battery powered micro aerial vehicles MAVs have time-of-flights measured in minutes, woefully short for military applications. Since battery mass already accounts for a significant portion of the overall system mass, increasing battery size to boost MV endurance is not the solution. On the other hand, if the energy storage device can be efficiently integrated into the vehicle structure, serving multiple functions, it could increase endurance by reducing parasitic mass. Unlike larger vehicles, MVs are generally made from lightweight, flexible materials hence, an integrated power source should have similar characteristics. The research reported herein focuses on preliminary results and progress in a Directors Research Initiative project focused on the design and fabrication of lightweight, flexible power sources, ultimately intended for integration into the structural features of MVs.