BALTIMORE, Md., 6 May 2013. LaserMotive, a Kent, Wash., company specializing in delivering electric power via lasers, unveiled the first tethered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft system powered by laser over optical fiber.
InvisiTower, the new, portable system, can power virtually any multi-rotor helicopter indefinitely using laser power sent via fiber-optic cable, reveals a representative. InvisiTower enables a helicopter to stay in the air as long as power is available on the ground. The system is compact and portable (small enough to fit in the back of an SUV) and does not require a pilot to fly (just someone to monitor the video coming from it).
"The beauty of the InvisiTower system is that it allows unlimited flight even in small systems because fiber optics are much lighter than copper wires," says Tom Nugent, president and CEO of LaserMotive. "In addition, it is safer because the fiber cable is nonconductive--it won't conduct lightning or short out power lines--and no high voltages are needed. The laser energy is completely contained and interlocked in case the cable is damaged, so there are no laser safety issues."
InvisiTower can be used for a variety of military and civilian applications, including: ISR and situational awareness, communications relay, news & sports reporters, first responders, and industrial facility security.
InvisiTower is based on LaserMotive's Power over Fiber system, which takes LaserMotive's free-space laser power beaming systems that have set multiple records delivering power to mobile robots and UAVs and sends the laser light over optical fiber. Power over Fiber can deliver power over long distances safely and without interference in the presence of high voltages, RF fields and electromagnetic pulses, or strong magnetic fields.
LaserMotive industry partners include Lockheed Martin, The Boeing Company (Spectrolab), DILAS, and OFS, according to the spokesperson.