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Autonomous plane will fly without a crew for 90 days using only energy from the sun

Knock-knock. Who's there? No one.
  • The Skydweller is an autonomous plane that can fly without a pilot or crew
  • It flies using only solar energy from the sun
  • The plane can stay in the air for 90 days straight

Published on Apr 6, 2024 at 8:30PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 8, 2024 at 7:34PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Nalin Rawat

A US-based aerospace company is testing a solar-powered autonomous plane that can fly for 90 days, without any humans on board.

This plane – a sign of advancements in the aviation industry – could fly at speeds of 35 mph (56 km/h) for three months.

It’s hard to imagine a flight without a pilot and no jet fuel staying in the air for that long.

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However, Skydweller Aero is changing that — it wants an entire fleet of such aircraft in the foreseeable future.

The Skydweller plane could eventually be used for unmanned emergency operations and hauling cargo in the long run.

The aircraft seems straight out of a dystopian future movie, right?

What’s even better is the aircraft looks like a huge glider, while only weighing as much as a large pickup truck.

That said, it has a wingspan that is larger than that of a Boeing 747 passenger plane.

To put the size of the wingspan into perspective, that’s three-quarters of a football field.

Now, imagine an aircraft of that size flying without a pilot for three full months.

Modern-day commercial planes that are operational today can only stay in the air for a maximum of 40 hours.

In contrast, the Skydweller seems like a massive upgrade.

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The industry’s shift towards autonomous planes isn’t new — several private companies are working on the tech to make it possible.

Moreover. even the US Air Force has a plan to develop a next-gen autonomous plane for defense operations.

“Our fleet of uncrewed aircraft will enable a multitude of long-duration missions that support national security and non-terrestrial communications with revolutionary cost savings,” Skydweller Aero CEO Robert Miller said in a statement.

The aerospace company has already completed a successful test flight of the solar-powered autonomous plane.

The aircraft developer conducted the test flight at Stennis International Airport in Mississippi.

The U.S. Navy has also awarded the company a $5 million contract to demonstrate the uses of unmanned solar flight

So, we might see more of this solar-powered autonomous plane in the future.

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