Sol Invictus - Small-Scale Autonomous Solar UAV
Project Goals
  • Extend the flight time of a state of the art, commercially available, electrically powered RC aircraft through the use of solar energy
  • Dynamically charge the UAV power system in flight with remaining available power
  • Implement an autopilot to stabilize flight and follow user defined waypoints
  • Stream reconnaissance imagery during flight
Flight System Overview
Aircraft selection criteria
  • Minimum weight
  • Minimum power requirement
  • Maximum solar cell area
On board electronics
  • 2 cell Li-Ploy on board battery
  • DC brushless motort
  • Power point tracking power supply
  • Dynamic power path management
  • MSP 430 based control system
Selected Aircraft
Reichard MAXX F5J Sailplane
Technical Specifications
Airframe: Reichard MAXX F5J
Cruise speed: approx. 20 mph
Max speed: 31 mph
Max payload: 12 oz.
Wing area: 498 in.2
Wing span: 78 in.
Aircraft weight: 30 oz.
Maximum flight distance: 80 mi.
Estimated Flight Characteristics
Figures generated by Motocalcâ„¢ simulation software.
Avionics Diagram
Avionics Components
  • MSP 430 microcontroller
  • Inertial measurement components
    • 3-axis accelerometer
    • 3-axis gyroscope
    • Magnetic compass
  • Altitude measurement
    • Static pressure sensor
  • Airspeed measurement
    • Dynamic pressure sensor
  • GPS
  • Wireless communications system
3D Render Image
Flight Control Board
Solar Cells
GaInP/GaAs Dual Junction Solar Cells