The Cloudless startup, founded by two Polish engineers, performed another successful flight of the ULEP-1 [Ultra Long Endurance Platform] unmanned aerial vehicle from an altitude of 24,784 meters.
After an hour’s ascent under a special balloon, a large – with a span of 5 meters – autonomous plane was released. During the 2.5 hour flight, tests and research were carried out. The drone has landed precisely in the designated place.
The plane was completely designed and made in Poland by the Cloudless team and is an innovative stratospheric research platform on a global scale. It has been approved for flights according to the latest regulations of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. The preparatory work was supported by the Institute of Technology and Life Sciences with which Cloudless is working on research applications.
In addition to research applications (environmental protection, meteorology, space engineering), Cloudless engineers use it to work on a pseudo-satellite, i.e. an aircraft that will be able to stay above the Earth’s troposphere for a long time. Pseudo-satellites will fill the gap between aircraft and space satellites.
Unmanned aerial vehicles powered by solar energy will be able to stay in the stratosphere continuously for weeks and months, and ultimately even a whole year. Drones of this type are many times cheaper to produce and use than satellites, and they enable, among others, Earth observations with greater accuracy in real time. The absence of most weather phenomena in the stratosphere allows 100% use of the potential of solar panels.
These observations have a very wide range of applications. From environmental research (environmental protection, analysis of the condition of agricultural crops, forestry) through support in case of natural disasters to alternative communication and navigation systems.
The Cloudless startup can boast of interesting achievements, so far they have done, among others the highest known flight of a drone released from a balloon at an altitude of 27,232 meters above sea level (on 30/03/2019), horizontal flight in the stratosphere with the use of electric drive, or return to the planned landing sites with an accuracy of several dozen meters.
Pseudo-satellite projects have been and are developed worldwide by subsidiaries of such giants as Airbus, Facebook, Google, BAE Systems and HAPSmobile. The Canadian project Stratodynamics performs flights with a stratospheric glider, including research project for NASA.
In order to increase the efficiency of work, Cloudless began looking for a strategic investor.