Solar Imaging and Sensoring System (SISS)

Creation of a drone capable of low altitude data collection, relying entirely or nearly entirely on solar power.

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Although drones are becoming ubiquitous across society, they still suffer from battery life issues and subsequent short flight times. While some choose to tackle the issue by designing a drone around a bulkier battery, I'm looking to demonstrate that drones can produce power in the air. Solar panels across the wings of a fixed wing drone could potentially allow for perpetual flight under ideal conditions. However, a drone that only produces power to fly serves little to no practical purpose. As such, my design will incorporate a basic sensor and imaging system to demonstrate the viability of solar powered UAVs.


As I was driving through Southern California and its various farms, I pondered how inefficiently they were running. In most places, it isn't much of a concern, but California tends to run into issues with droughts and water usage. One of the people I was driving with remarked that we should be using modern technology to make it more efficient, but that very little work was being done on it. This is my first foray into agricultural technology, but I intend to use this experience as a base to develop other projects. 

Progress Presentation 12_17.pdf

Progress Presentation given to class on 12/17/19

Adobe Portable Document Format - 31.96 kB - 01/23/2020 at 15:25


John Jones Progress Presentation.pdf

Progress Presentation given to class on 12/5/19

application/pdf - 1.90 MB - 01/23/2020 at 15:25



Wood and cut outs for the Ribs

JPEG Image - 1.21 MB - 01/23/2020 at 15:04



Solar Panels

JPEG Image - 1.05 MB - 01/23/2020 at 15:04



More Solar Panels!

JPEG Image - 1.67 MB - 01/23/2020 at 15:04


View all 11 files

  • 1 × Balsa Wood Sheets
  • 1 × Motor
  • 1 × Folding Prop
  • 100 × 50mmx25mm Solar Cells
  • 1 × Electronic Speed Controller

View all 6 components

  • Project Logs from 9/2/19 to 1/10/20

    John Jones01/23/2020 at 15:20 0 comments

    Week 1: 9/2/19 - 9/6/19

    Week 2: 9/8/19-9/13/19

    Week 3: 9/15/19-9/20/19

    Week 4: 9/22/19-9/25/19

    Week 5: 9/30/19-10/4/19

    Week 6: 10/7/19-10/11/19

    Week 7: 10/14/19-10/18/19

    Week 8: 10/21/19-10/25/19

    Week 10: 11/4/19-11/8/19

    Week 11: 11/12/19-11/15/19

    Week 12: 11/18/19-11/22/19

    Week 13: 12/2/19-12/6/19

    Week 14: 12/9/19-12/13/19

    Week 15: 1/6/20-1/10/20

    Week 15: 1/6/20-1/10/20

    Week 1: 9/2/19 - 9/6/19

    Plan - The goals of this week were to create a pre-proposal and begin looking at the research databases that we have at our disposal. 

    Procedures - As this week was primarily used to develop ideas, the main procedures were simply internet and database searches. We also verified our projects as being feasible. 

    Progress - I developed a pre-proposal relating to medical haptic technology and researched basic background on it and a secondary topic regarding drones in agriculture. 

    Problems - The medical haptic technology appeared to be out of the scope of feasibility, so I was forced to fall back on my secondary idea. I’ll recreate and resubmit a pre-proposal for this project next week. 

    Week 2: 9/8/19-9/13/19

    Plan - The goals for this week were to complete a website and give my project pre-proposal presentation, in the process receiving feedback and refining my ideas. At the same time, I was looking to collect some research that related to my project idea.

    Procedures - I used to set up a project webpage with all the information I need to display. My project pre-proposal presentation was created using Google Slides. I found the research using the library databases, primarily ProQuest.

    Progress - I finished the pre-proposal presentation and used the feedback to refine my project idea solely down to creating a solar-powered drone capable of supporting a basic sensor system. I found two articles of research and completed two article reviews for them. 

    Problems - The scope of my original project was still too wide, but I refocused my project.

    Week 3: 9/15/19-9/20/19

    Plan- The plan this week was to complete my final 3 research reviews, 2 of which would be scientific research articles and the other would be a patent. 

    Procedures- I used the databases again to find the research articles and I used the USPTO search process described in the presentation on Classroom to find the patent. 

    Progress- I completed all 3 of the research articles and my mandatory lab clean up hours. During those lab clean up hours, I also discussed my project with Mr. Seyler and found a way to create the frame for significantly less cost than I thought I would have to be spending. They create airframes in Energy Systems from balsa wood, so I now have another source of information to draw upon. 

    Problems- There weren’t any major problems this week. 

    Week 4: 9/22/19-9/25/19

    Plan- The requirement for this week was to complete the project purchase request sheet. Other goals were to develop a more concrete plan of how I was going to go about completing the project.

    Procedures- I used a variety of sources to come to a conclusion about what resources would be necessary to create the drone. Several classmates were essential to making decisions about stuff like the necessary motor and prop. I then found these items on online retailers and filled out the purchase request sheet using these retailers. 

    Progress- The purchase request sheet is complete and I have a solid base for how I am going to go about completing this project.

    Problems- No major problems this week. 

    Week 5: 9/30/19-10/4/19

    Plan- The plan this week was to complete our proposals and give feedback to other classmates

    Procedures- Word processing software was used to create the proposals and presentation software to create the project proposal presentations

    Progress- The proposal was mostly complete by the end of this week with minor revisions necessary.

    Problems- No major problems...

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