SolarXOne: fully electric, solar-powered autonomous drone

French company XSun specializes in solar-powered drones – and has produced a pretty impressive craft, indeed. Its SolarXOne fixed-wing aircraft not only soaks up and stores the sun rays that power it, but also packs onboard tech that allows it to make its own decisions during flights.

Solar-powered, high-performance drone

SolarXOne drone looks a bit like a dragonfly intent on heating a family swimming pool or home. The uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) features a tandem wing design that increases both its lift and the number of solar panels drinking up rays that drive the craft. Though fully sun-powered (and, once converted, electric), the SolarXOne is something of a hybrid vehicle: part airplane, mostly drone, quasi-satellite with the tech punch it carries aboard. 

The UAV weighs a total of 25 kg, has a wingspan of 4.5 meters, and maximum payload of 5 kg ­– which may include gyroscopes, high-performance thermal imaging cameras, LIDAR, and cutting-edge…