Unmanned Solar-Electric Airplanes: Non-Military Applications and Related Key Challenges

Mr Stefan Leutenegger, PhD student, research assistant and lecturer
ETH Zurich
Dec 07, 2010.


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Presentation Summary

  • Principles of the solar-electric airplane
  • An approach to feasibility studies and conceptual design
  • Applications and related key challenges
  • Prototype development at ASL: milestones

Speaker Biography (Stefan Leutenegger)

Stefan completed his Master studies in mechanical engineering with focus on robotics and aerospace engineering at ETH Zurich. During that time, he had the opportunity to write his Master's Thesis at the NASA Ames Research Center in California. He has been working as a PhD student at the Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) at ETH since 2009: his project concerns design and robust operation of solar Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). In his free time, Stefan is also linked with aviation: he has been a passionate glider pilot for over ten years, performing long distance cross-country flights and also participating in international competitions.

Company Profile (ETH Zurich)

Institution: ETH Zurich has come to symbolise excellent education, groundbreaking basic research and applied results that are beneficial for society as a whole. Founded in 1855, it today offers researchers an inspiring environment and students a comprehensive education as one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences. ETH Zurich has more than 16,000 students from approximately 80 countries, 3,500 of whom are doctoral candidates. More than 400 professors teach and conduct research in the areas of engineering, architecture, mathematics, natural sciences, system-oriented sciences, and management and social sciences. ETH Zurich regularly appears at the top of international rankings as one of the best universities in the world. 21 Nobel Laureates have studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zurich, underlining the excellent reputation of the institute.