Rawalpindi: Air University Islamabad on Thursday announced thatits final year students have successfully flown the first ever solar energy fuelled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in Pakistan.

The endeavour brought together the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra and Tesla Solar-PV Technologies to help AU develop this UAV as a commercial product for applications requiring extended duration flight, says a press release issued by Air University.

The UAV took successful flight in a Design, Build & Fly Contest (DBFC) arranged by Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute’s American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) chapter in the Solar Powered UAV category.

The AU team that clinched this distinction comprised four students — Abdullah Tariq, Osama Gilani, Abdullah Mahmoud and Gulam Jahania from Dept of Electrical Engineering and Yasir Ali from Dept of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.

Engineer Sohail Khalid from Dept of Electrical Engineering and Dr Ebrahim Haneef from the Institute of Avionics and Aeronautics supervised the team.

Designing and flying a solar powered UAV involved a major challenge of solar-cell integration on the aircraft’s wings and fuselage, while keeping the UAV stable and manoeuverable aerodynamically.

Due to these daunting requirements, only four teams were registered for contesting in the solar UAV category from all over the Pakistan.

To meet the challenge of solar cells integration on the wings, CEO of Tesla Solar-PV Technologies Aamir Hussain and his allies worked hard with the students to enable them complete the task.

The remarkable achievement has been admired by a large number of scientists and they said there was no shortage of talent in the country and the only thing we need was patronage of higher authorities including government to touch the height of excellence in the field of science and technology.

Aamir Hussain said developing UAVs on a commercial basis would help perimeter security of oil and gasfields, dams, and sensitive installations. He said aerial surveillance of railway tracks, gas and oil pipelines, high voltage transmission lines, domestic policing like monitoring processions etc would be easier once this UAV was available for these purposes.

He said UAVs could be used for many other purposes, including search and rescue during and after natural disasters, forest fire detection and monitoring of crops and livestock.