Active power management system for an unmanned aerial vehicle powered by solar cells, a fuel cell, and batteries


200W class, low-speed, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that employs solar cells, a fuel cell, and a battery pack as its power sources is considered. This study applies an active power management method that directs each individual source to generate the appropriate power, depending on the power supply and demand, instead of the passive method in which the power sources irresponsibly generate power, depending on their characteristics. The power management system (PMS) under active management determines the power output from each source. The flight test of the UAV with a PMS onboard is conducted for 3.8 h. The active PMS verifies its own feasibility as it successfully keeps the power sources within their proper operational bounds and maintains a target state-of-charge of 45%, while responding to the various conditions associated with the power required. In addition, through a comparison of flight test results with a power simulation of the passive method, the usefulness, advantages, and disadvantages of an active power management method over a passive method are investigated.

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