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As more companies and organizations deploy larger drones and unmanned aerial vehicles for use in applications such as utilities inspection, agricultural surveys, and photogrammetry of land topology for mining and construction, longer-duration power systems for the UAVs are required.

Many drone manufacturers are employing “hybrid systems”, which typically include heavy fuel-powered turbines that generate electricity for electric propulsion. Increasingly, these types of systems will be needed as beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) missions are expanded in future years. For short duration flights, the ideal solution will continue to be battery-powered drones. Applications in this area can include, but are not limited to, aerial multispectral imaging of agricultural plots, photography of municipal traffic, and simple building inspection by corporate planners.

In this buyer’s guide, author Tom Atwood (in collaboration with Lucien Miller and Mark Essenburg) provides you with a framework to understand the types of UAV propulsive power systems currently available, their typical market applications, and general price ranges. The guide was created primarily based on a survey of power systems exhibited at this year’s Xponential conference and trade show in Chicago.

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