Praxis Aeronautics, an Adelaide company developing capability for the commercial manufacture of solar powered drones, has received $150,000 in support under the South Australian State Government’s Early Commercialisation Fund.
The company has developed a process which allows solar cells to be encapsulated into a composite material, such as the body of a drone.
Praxis believes their technology could be used to extend the flight duration of both petrol powered and electric drones (which can fly up to one hour on a single charge), paving the way for drones to be used for humanitarian, environmental management, mapping and defence purposes in the future.
In announcing the grant award, Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher said the state’s Early Commercialisation Fund was targeted towards helping innovators such as Praxis Aeronautics.
“Companies such as Praxis Aeronautics are looking at gaps in the market and using advanced manufacturing and the latest technologies to make these ideas into a reality,” the Minister said.
Praxis Aeronautics Managing Director Don Donaldson said the money went towards scaling up the systems and production facilities to allow for the manufacture of full scale solar powered drones for sale.
“Our new manufacturing process is disruptive because it enables standard solar cells to be used in a much more productive way,” Mr Donaldson explained.
“The Early Commercialisation Fund has enabled us to get to a commercial stage much earlier than would be normally possible for a small start-up, by allowing us to purchase manufacturing equipment and some materials for our prototype.”