Airships Patents (Class 244/30)
  • Patent number: 11001379
    Abstract: An airborne computational facility uses an energy collection system to provide energy for operation. An airborne balloon is provided with a photovoltaic collector array, and uses energy generated by the photovoltaic collector array to power an on-board computational facility. Data for computation is received by a communication module and computational results are transmitted by the communication module.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 11, 2021
    Inventors: Robert Matthew Panas, Philip Rettger, Cynthia Panas, Jonathan Harrington, Matthew Offenbacher
  • Patent number: 10919610
    Abstract: An unmanned and remotely controlled airship has a multirotor system combined with an inflatable envelope. The airship may be lifted/powered by a power system that has three or more rotors. The airship may be constructed using rods, connectors, the main system/control box and the rotors. The airship system may have a systemic symmetry for weight distribution and flight control and may be, for example, a symmetric ellipsoid envelope/blimp.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 16, 2021
    Assignee: ELIO TECNOLOGIA, SERVIÇOS E PARTICIPAÇOES LTDA.
    Inventor: Luciano da Silveira Araujo
  • Patent number: 10878255
    Abstract: Methods, systems, and computer program products for providing automatic responsive actions to biometrically detected events are provided. Aspects include receiving, from a biometric sensing device associated with an animal, biometric data associated with the animal and animal location data associated with the animal. Aspects also include determining an intensity level of an event associated with the animal based on the biometric data and approximating a location of the event based on the animal location data and the biometric data. In response to determining that the intensity level of the event exceeds a predetermined intensity threshold, aspects include initiating a responsive action proximate to the location of the event.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2020
    Assignee: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION
    Inventors: Eric V. Kline, Sarbajit K. Rakshit
  • Patent number: 10830607
    Abstract: A movement analyzer includes a position information acquiring device, a memory, and a processor. The processor executes a program to perform operations including acquiring position information of the movement analyzer with the position information acquiring device, determining whether or not a moving state of the movement analyzer is a specific moving state, and recording the position information corresponding to the specific moving state in the memory as a path of the specific moving state when a determination result indicates that the moving state of the movement analyzer is the specific moving state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2020
    Assignee: CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Takeshi Okada
  • Patent number: 10807708
    Abstract: An air vehicle (10) comprising a main body (12) and a pair of opposing wing members (14a, 14b) extending substantially laterally from the main body (12) having a principal axis orthogonal to the longitudinal axis (20) of said wing members, at least a first propulsion device (16a) associated with a first of said wing members arranged and configured to generate a linear thrust relative to the main body in a first direction, and a second propulsion device (16b) associated with a second of said wing members arranged and configured to generate linear thrust relative to said main body in a second, substantially opposite, direction such that said wing members and said main body are caused to rotate about said principal axis, in use, the air vehicle further comprising an imaging system (100) configured to cover a substantially 360° imaging area about said principal axis and comprising at least one electro-optic sensor (102) mounted on a support member (104) and having a field of view (102a) covering a portion of said
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 20, 2020
    Assignee: BAE Systems plc
    Inventors: Julian David Wright, Nicholas Giacomo Robert Colosimo, Clyde Warsop
  • Patent number: 10647402
    Abstract: In some embodiments, apparatuses and methods are provided herein useful to transport unmanned aircraft systems to delivery products. In some embodiments, gas-filled aerial transport and launch system, comprises: a transport aircraft comprising: a gas chamber; and a carrier compartment where the gas chamber induces a lifting force on the carrier compartment; at least one propulsion system; and a navigation control system that controls the direction of travel of the transport aircraft; wherein the carrier compartment comprises: an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) storage area configured to receive multiple UASs; and an UAS launching bay that enables the UAS to be launched while the transport aircraft is in flight and while the UAS is carrying a package to be delivered.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 12, 2020
    Assignee: Walmart Apollo, LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. High, David C. Cox
  • Patent number: 10618002
    Abstract: A system for treating ambient air is provided. The system includes a flow control structure disposed on a vehicle. The flow control structure is adapted to control flow of ambient air received during movement of the vehicle. The system further includes an actuator operatively coupled to the flow control structure. The actuator is adapted to movably adjust the flow control structure. The system further includes a controller disposed on the vehicle and communicably coupled to the actuator. The controller is configured to control the actuator based on at least a quality of ambient air. The system further includes an air treatment component for selectively receiving ambient air from the flow control structure. The air treatment component is adapted to treat at least one pollutant present in ambient air.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2020
    Assignee: Tenneco Automotive Operating Company Inc.
    Inventors: Bradley Fingland, Michael C. Bradford
  • Patent number: 10580335
    Abstract: Apparatuses for providing a portable display, such as temporary signage or telepresence communication capabilities, as well as methods for providing a portable display are described. A portable display apparatus includes a base, a collapsible component extending from the base and a plurality of light emitting devices coupled to the collapsible component. The collapsible component is configured to transition from a collapsed position to an extended position. The plurality of light emitting devices are arranged in a movable configuration such that, when the collapsible component is in the extended position, the plurality of light emitting devices rotate around the collapsible component and selectively illuminate to provide a display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2020
    Assignee: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
    Inventor: Douglas A. Moore
  • Patent number: 10476296
    Abstract: A secondary UAV flies over the solar-powered UAV at night and illuminates the solar-powered UAV's solar panels to help supplement the solar-powered UAV's battery charge mid-flight. The secondary UAV could be equipped with a directional light source for providing light of a color and intensity selected for optimal absorption by the solar cells of the solar-powered UAV. As the secondary UAV flies over the solar-powered UAV, the secondary UAV could thus direct its light source at the solar-powered UAV for absorption by the solar cells, to help supplement the solar-powered UAV's battery charge. Further, the secondary UAV could potentially recharge multiple solar-powered UAVs during a single nighttime mission.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 12, 2019
    Assignee: Sprint Spectrum L.P.
    Inventors: Walter F. Rausch, Guenther Ottendorfer
  • Patent number: 10469021
    Abstract: An energy collection system uses one or more airborne energy collection vehicles having a lighter-than-air balloon structure. The balloon structure has an outer gas envelope formed of a substantially inelastic material and an inner gas envelope at least partially separate from the outer gas envelope, contained within the outer gas envelope and separated from the outer gas envelope by a flexible diaphragm. The space between the outer and inner gas envelopes is filled with air. An air chamber pressurization mechanism maintains the outer gas envelope gas pressure at a target value. An energy storage facility receives energy from a photovoltaic collector array and converts the received energy to stored energy. Storage of the received energy can be accomplished by conversion of a precursor to a high energy fuel as the stored energy, by use of storage batteries or by storage in an inertial mass.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2019
    Inventors: Robert Matthew Panas, Philip Rettger, Cynthia Panas, Jonathan Harrington, Matthew Offenbacher
  • Patent number: 10457394
    Abstract: A method for launch of an airship includes connecting a cargo airship to a second airship that is not positively buoyant at the launch site, launching the cargo airship, transferring lifting gas from the cargo airship to the second airship where said lifting gas is carded by the cargo airship while aloft; and releasing the second airship from the cargo airship. A high-altitude airship launch system is also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 29, 2019
    Assignee: STRATOSPHERIC AIRSHIPS, LLC
    Inventor: Stephen B. Heppe
  • Patent number: 10427772
    Abstract: An aircraft comprising a hydrogen-containing envelope, a water-collection system for collecting water from the envelope, an electrolyser to convert the water collected using the water-collection system into hydrogen, and a hydrogen-replenishment system for replenishing the envelope with hydrogen generated using the electrolyser. In one embodiment, generated hydrogen is also supplied to a hydrogen-fueled propulsion system for propulsion of the aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2019
    Assignee: SOLAR SHIP INC.
    Inventors: Sebastien Fournier, Jay Godsall
  • Patent number: 10406466
    Abstract: The system to be installed on a vehicle to purify air using kinetic energy generated by movement of the vehicle is presented. The system comprises at least one kinetic air purifier structure which is an air conduit having a first particle collection chamber and a second particle separation chamber. Each chamber comprises at least one convex element that provides obstacle to the air flow to separate large particles from the air flow, at least one trapping element, such as cotton fabric, to trap smaller dirt particles, and at least one chamber orifice that allows access to the chambers for cleaning purpose. The system further comprises a micro-porous trapping element to trap micro particles. Due to separated and trapped particles at various chambers, the air is purified. The air purification is achieved by capturing the dirt particles instead of diminishing those.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2019
    Inventor: Victor Manuel Celorio
  • Patent number: 10374484
    Abstract: The device for generating an electrical current, intended for a pipeline, includes a pipe element (1), a rotor (2) suitable for being set in motion by the fluid and a stator (3a, 3b) arranged to cooperate with an end of the rotor (2) opposite to an axis of rotation (4) of said rotor (2) in order to generate the electrical current. The axis of rotation (4) is mounted at its opposing longitudinal ends (4a, 4b) on first and second supports (5a, 5b) arranged on either side of the plane of rotation (P1) of the rotor (2) and each linked to the pipe element (1). The stator has at least one ring (3a) arranged on one side of the rotor (2), and each ring (3a, 3b) includes a circuit suitable for generating all or part of the electrical current when excited by a magnetic element of the rotor (2).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2019
    Assignee: SAVE INNOVATIONS
    Inventor: Bernard Perriere
  • Patent number: 10367447
    Abstract: An unmanned lighter-than-air aircraft includes an outer membrane, a flexible bladder within the outer membrane and containing a lighter-than-air gas, a region disposed between the outer membrane and flexible bladder, a volume detection device configured to measure the volume of the flexible bladder, a pressure adjustment device to adjust the pressure within the region, and pressure control circuitry to control the region pressure adjustment device based on measurements from the volume detection device. The aircraft is maintained at a desired altitude, and the volume of the flexible bladder is measured. The pressure within the region is then adjusted by the pressure control circuitry to maintain the volume of the flexible bladder at a desired volume less than its maximum volume, equalizing its pressure with that of the region to reduce lighter-than-air gas leakage from the flexible bladder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2019
    Assignee: SKYCOM CORPORATION
    Inventors: Max G. Michaelis, IV, John H. H. Bennett
  • Patent number: 10350504
    Abstract: A system may include an inflatable assembly having a plurality of members. The system may also include a plurality of sensors disposed at a plurality of positions inside or around the inflatable assembly, such that the plurality of sensors may acquire data related to a shape of the inflatable assembly. The system also includes one or more valves, each configured to direct a fluid into a corresponding member of the plurality of members of the inflatable assembly. The system also includes a processor that adjusts positions of the one or more valves to cause the fluid to be directed into the corresponding member of the plurality of members of the inflatable assembly based on the data and a desired shape of the inflatable assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Assignee: Universal City Studios LLC
    Inventors: Robert Cortelyou, Ross Osterman, Justin Schwartz, Amanda Zielkowski, Caitlin A. Correll, Darrin Hughes, Anisha Vyas
  • Patent number: 10343760
    Abstract: A hybrid airship has both aerostatic and aerodynamic lift comprising: an engine, a flexible external envelope (2) and at least one primary enclosure Ep filled with lifting gas (G). The primary enclosure Ep having an elastic wall P1 separating this enclosure from compartment C1, the latter having an elastic wall Pi separating compartment C1 from compartment Ci, the latter having an elastic wall Pi+1 separating the compartment Ci from compartment Ci+1, and so on up until elastic wall PJ+1 separating compartment CJ from compartment CJ+1 where J corresponds to a whole number greater than or equal to 1, each compartment Ci being equally delimited by the flexible exterior envelope. The hybrid airship includes a) a valve Vi between each compartment Ci and its adjacent compartment Ci+1, and b) a controller (22) for the valve Vi.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 9, 2019
    Assignee: SONACA S.A.
    Inventors: Alexandre Simonis, Yann Gonze, Etienne Bargeton
  • Patent number: 10301002
    Abstract: A hot air balloon steering system for steering a hot air balloon includes a hot air balloon that includes a basket. A stand unit is movably coupled to the basket. The stand unit abuts a support surface thereby facilitating the basket to be spaced from the support surface when the hot air balloon is not in flight. A sail unit is movably coupled to the basket. The sail unit captures air when the hot air balloon is in flight. Moreover, the sail unit steers the hot air balloon when the hot air balloon is in flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2019
    Inventor: Chris D. Palmby
  • Patent number: 10247172
    Abstract: A hanging windmill has a wind turbine and a generator mounted on an airframe supported by a hanger at the center of gravity of the assembly. A stop is provided for preventing the tipping of the airframe on the hanger beyond a point where the blades of the wind turbine strike the hanger.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 12, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2019
    Inventor: Stephen F. Cowap
  • Patent number: 9910431
    Abstract: A system for aggregate control of a remote control vehicle includes an aggregation and control server configured to receive user direction inputs from a plurality of electronic devices associated with spectators at an entertainment venue. Based on the user direction inputs and information and program instructions in data storage, the aggregation and control server generates control outputs communicated to the remote control vehicle via a remote control transmitter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2018
    Inventor: Christopher Beauchamp
  • Patent number: 9840319
    Abstract: A balloon apparatus is provided having (1) a cage structure that includes (a) a plurality of vertical tendons, where each of the vertical tendons includes a first end and second end, where the first ends of the vertical tendons are all connected to one another and where the second ends of the vertical tendons are all connected to one another and (b) one or more horizontal tendons, where each horizontal tendon is attached to each of the vertical tendons at a corresponding level of the cage structure and (2) a balloon envelope, where the balloon envelop is arranged inside the cage structure and inflatable within the cage structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 12, 2017
    Assignee: X Development LLC
    Inventors: Kevin Roach, Pamela Desrochers
  • Patent number: 9760087
    Abstract: According to an aspect, a distributed package transport system includes unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), each of which is configured to transport packages within a geographic area and along a travel route. The system also includes UAV enclosures dispersed within the geographic area. The UAV enclosures include a number of cells, each of which provides a receptacle to temporarily house a UAV. At least one of the UAV enclosures is dynamically assigned to a location within the geographic area. Each of the UAV enclosures includes a computer processor and communication network interface and, for each of the UAVs in transit, the UAV enclosures communicate information specifying an origination point, drop off point, and return point amongst each other and coordinate to define, based on locations of the UAV enclosures and capacities of the UAV enclosures, a refined travel route including a subset of the UAV enclosures to serve as hops.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2015
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2017
    Assignee: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION
    Inventors: Guillaume Hoareau, Johannes J. Liebenberg, John G. Musial, Todd R. Whitman
  • Patent number: 9752549
    Abstract: An apparatus for generating electricity from water flow comprises a convergent section, a diffuser section and tube for locating within a body of water. The convergent section is connected to a first end of a mixing chamber such that a venturi is defined between the end of the convergent section and the mixing chamber. The diffuser section is connected to a second end of the mixing chamber, the diffuser section configured such that in use the pressure at the exit of the diffuser section is greater than the pressure at the venturi. At least part of the tube is located in the convergent section, such that an annulus is defined between the tube and the convergent section, to form a first flow passage. The tube defines a second flow passage within the tube; and a turbine connectable to a generator is located within the tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2017
    Assignee: VERDERG LTD
    Inventor: Peter Roberts
  • Patent number: 9738369
    Abstract: The invention relates to a multipurpose airship and, more particularly, to a hybrid dirigible. The airship comprises a body (2) having a parallelepiped shape and docking means (8) comprising four rods connected by a frame and designed to be extractable from the body (2), the ends of these rods being provided each with at least one vacuum cup for adhering to a substantially vertical surface of a building. The docking means (8) are provided with grips adapted to engage with the docking means (8) of another airship of the same design. The invention also relates to a set of airships including at least two said airships. The proposed airship does not require a lot of space for its takeoff and provides fast and secure evacuation of people from tower buildings. In addition, the invention provides the possibility of varying the airship payload directly in flight depending of specific needs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2017
    Assignees: ANTER LLC, RUFIUS OY
    Inventors: Timur A. Mirzeabasov, Lidia N. Shkolina, Svetlana T. Romanova, Dimitrii O. Belov, Valery M. Volynkin, Vadim Y. Golovan, Fail N. Suleymanov, Igor Vodyanoy
  • Patent number: 9720078
    Abstract: Methods and apparatuses for providing wide-area surveillance with a radar and/or other sensors from a stratospheric balloon launched from a land or ship platform for detection, tracking, and classification of maritime, land, and air objects such as ships, people/vehicles, or aircraft are described generally herein. In one or more embodiments, an apparatus is battery operated and includes a stratospheric balloon filled that is filled with helium when it is launched and a gondola with a radar system and communication equipment suspended therefrom. When launched, the apparatus can travel with the wind until it reaches an altitude of approximately 68,500 ft., then it can move substantially horizontally with the stratospheric winds until it returns to earth via a parachute. Multiple apparatus launches at periodic intervals can help provide continuous coverage of the surveillance area. The apparatus can be recovered and re-used or can be considered expendable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: Raven Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Phillip A. Fox, Michael Scott Smith, George W. Moe, Joseph W. Maresca, Jr.
  • Patent number: 9632503
    Abstract: Innovative new systems and method of operating the systems, wherein the system comprises an airborne platform comprising an unmanned balloon; a payload that is separate from the unmanned balloon; a transceiver; first and second flight termination devices; at least two separate power sources for the first and second flight termination devices; a sensor; a processor; a pump; a valve; and a tether that when broken separates the unmanned balloon and the payload, are disclosed herein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2017
    Assignee: SPACE DATA CORPORATION
    Inventors: Gerald M. Knoblach, Eric A. Frische, Bruce Alan Barkley
  • Patent number: 9504811
    Abstract: Inflatable medical devices and methods for making and using the same are disclosed. The inflatable medical devices can be medical balloons. The balloons can be configured to have a through-lumen or no through-lumen and a wide variety of geometries. The device can have a high-strength, non-compliant, fiber-reinforced, multi-layered wall. The inflatable medical device can be used for angioplasty, kyphoplasty, percutaneous aortic valve replacement, or other procedures described herein.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 2, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 29, 2016
    Assignee: LOMA VISTA MEDICAL, INC.
    Inventors: Alexander Quillin Tilson, Mark Christopher Scheeff
  • Patent number: 9494130
    Abstract: A yaw control-by-rudder type tidal stream power generation apparatus includes: a nacelle used in a tidal stream power generator that converts flowing energy of a tidal stream to generate electric power, and located in the tidal stream to be rotatable about a first rotating shaft; a rotor provided at one side of the nacelle with reference to the first rotating shaft, and configured to be rotated by the flowing energy of the tidal stream; a rudder unit provided at the other side of the nacelle with reference to the first rotating shaft, and including a rudder fixed to the nacelle and a variable rudder rotatably connected to the nacelle; and a control unit configured to control the rotation of the variable rudder. When the flow direction of the tidal stream is changed, the rotation of the variable rudder is controlled by the control unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2016
    Assignee: KOREA INSTITUTE OF OCEAN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Jin Hwan Ko, Kwang-Soo Lee, Ji Hoon Kim, Tae Gyu Hwang, Jin Hun Choo, Jong Su Yoon
  • Patent number: 9463861
    Abstract: A high altitude balloon system includes a dual chamber balloon extending from an upper apex to a lower apex with a circumferential edge between the upper and lower apexes. A deflectable diaphragm is within the dual chamber balloon and coupled along the circumferential edge. The deflectable membrane divides the dual chamber balloon into a lift gas chamber formed by an interior surface of the dual chamber balloon and the deflectable diaphragm, and a ballast chamber formed by the interior surface of the dual chamber balloon and the deflectable diaphragm. Optionally, the dual chamber balloon is constructed by interposing the deflectable diaphragm between an upper and lower balloon panels. Each of the upper and lower balloon panels and the deflectable diaphragm are then coupled together along the circumferential edge to form both the lift gas chamber and the ballast chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 20, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2016
    Assignee: Raven Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael S. Smith, Kurt L. Sehnert, Randy E. Scott, Justin Lee Marsh, Mark L. West
  • Patent number: 9352819
    Abstract: An example can include a pod detachably coupled to a hull. At least one thrust generator can be fixed to the pod. A power source can be mounted to the pod and slideable fore and aft. A power source actuator can be coupled between the pod and the power source to translate the location of the power source with respect to the pod. A sensor can be coupled to the pod to detect a pitch of the hull and provide a pitch signal. A controller can be coupled to one or more of the power source, the power source actuator, the first and second thrust generators and the sensor. The controller can maintain a pitch of the hull by translating the power source within the pod in association with the pitch signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 31, 2016
    Assignee: Raven Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael Scott Smith, Randy E. Scott
  • Patent number: 9329600
    Abstract: Example embodiments may facilitate altitude control by a balloon in a balloon network. An example method involves: (a) causing a balloon to operate in a first mode, wherein the balloon comprises an envelope, a high-pressure storage chamber, and a solar power system, (b) while the balloon is operating in the first mode: (i) operating the solar power system to generate power for the balloon and (ii) using at least some of the power generated by the solar power system to move gas from the envelope to the high-pressure storage chamber such that the buoyancy of the balloon decreases; (c) causing the balloon to operate in a second mode; and while the balloon is operating in the second mode, moving gas from the high-pressure storage chamber to the envelope such that the buoyancy of the balloon increases.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 3, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2016
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Richard Wayne DeVaul, Eric Teller, Clifford L. Biffle, Joshua Weaver
  • Patent number: 9327818
    Abstract: A self-stabilizing bladder or ballonet is provided within an envelope of a balloon. The bladder includes a spheroid body comprising an equator, a top pole, a bottom pole, and an axis crossing through the top pole and the bottom pole. The distance between two poles may be less than the equatorial distance. The bladder is sized and shaped for insertion into an envelope of a balloon and is inflatable to provide altitude control for the balloon.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2016
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventor: Kevin Roach
  • Patent number: 9317043
    Abstract: Methods and systems described herein relate to power generation control for an aerial vehicle. An example method may include operating an aerial vehicle in a crosswind-flight orientation substantially along a first flight path to generate power. The first flight path may include a substantially circular path that allows the aerial vehicle to generate the power. While the aerial vehicle is in the crosswind-flight orientation the method may include determining to reduce the power being generated by the aerial vehicle, and responsive to the determination, determining a second flight path that will reduce the power generated by the aerial vehicle when operating on the second flight path. Once determined, the aerial vehicle may operate substantially along the second flight path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2016
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth Jensen, Damon Vander Lind
  • Patent number: 9296460
    Abstract: An airship is presented having a plurality of resilient gas bags and gas containers, a straight fuselage tubular hull, with an inner air passageway and propulsion system located therein, and, connecting air inlet, and outlet funnels fore, and aft, with air deflector cones axially positioned therein. The ship also contains propulsion, reverse, and directional rocket thrusters, in addition to typical airship components.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 29, 2016
    Inventor: Phillip R. Barber
  • Patent number: 9290258
    Abstract: An example balloon system for long-duration flight can include an optically transparent envelope for solar greenhouse heating of lift gas within, a fuel cell inside a bladder within the envelope, and a solar collector beneath the bladder configured to concentrate solar energy in a focal region below the bladder. The fuel cell can include hydrogen gas, oxygen gas, and a water reservoir in a bottom portion of the bladder, and could be configured to generate electricity to run a heater to heat the lift gas during night-time hours. The example system can also include a heat engine configured with a hot side in the focal region and a cold side in the water reservoir. The heat engine could be configured to generate power by transferring heat from the hot side to the cold side, and the power could be used to recharge the fuel cell during daylight hours.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2014
    Date of Patent: March 22, 2016
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventor: Richard Wayne DeVaul
  • Patent number: 9216806
    Abstract: A system for airship hull reinforcement and in-situ repair includes a sensor for detecting a leak in the airship hull of a lighter-than-air airship and a repair mechanism inside lighter-than-air airship for dispensing repair material to seal the leak. A durable airship hull includes an inner gas barrier, an outer gas barrier, and a microlattice layer sandwiched between the inner gas barrier and the outer gas barrier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 14, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 22, 2015
    Assignee: STRATOSPHERIC AIRSHIPS, LLC
    Inventor: Stephen B. Heppe
  • Patent number: 9216824
    Abstract: Wind energy systems, such as an Airborne Wind Turbine (“AWT”), may be used to facilitate conversion of kinetic energy to electrical energy. An AWT may include an aerial vehicle that flies in a path to convert kinetic wind energy to electrical energy. The aerial vehicle may be tethered to a ground station with a tether that terminates at a tether termination mount. In one aspect, the tether may be a conductive tether that can transmit electricity and/or electrical signals back and forth between the aerial vehicle and the ground station. The tether termination mount may include one or more gimbals that allow for the tether termination mount to rotate about one or more axis. In a further aspect, the tether termination mount may include a slip ring that allows for rotation of the tether without twisting the tether.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 22, 2015
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Brian Hachtmann, Corwin Hardham, Damon Vander Lind, Rob Nelson
  • Patent number: 9211951
    Abstract: Wind energy systems, such as an Airborne Wind Turbine (“AWT”), may be used to facilitate conversion of kinetic energy to electrical energy. An AWT may include an aerial vehicle that flies in a path to convert kinetic wind energy to electrical energy. The aerial vehicle may be tethered to a ground station with a tether that terminates at a tether termination mount. In one aspect, the tether may be a conductive tether that can transmit electricity and/or electrical signals back and forth between the aerial vehicle and the ground station. The tether termination mount may include one or more gimbals that allow for the tether termination mount to rotate about one or more axis. In a further aspect, the tether termination mount may include a slip ring that allows for rotation of the tether without twisting the tether.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 15, 2015
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Brian Hachtmann, Corwin Hardham, Damon Vander Lind, Rob Nelson
  • Patent number: 9193480
    Abstract: A high altitude balloon system includes a dual chamber balloon extending from an upper apex to a lower apex with a circumferential edge between the upper and lower apexes. A deflectable diaphragm is within the dual chamber balloon and coupled along the circumferential edge. The deflectable membrane divides the dual chamber balloon into a lift gas chamber formed by an interior surface of the dual chamber balloon and the deflectable diaphragm, and a ballast chamber formed by the interior surface of the dual chamber balloon and the deflectable diaphragm. Optionally, the dual chamber balloon is constructed by interposing the deflectable diaphragm between an upper and lower balloon panels. Each of the upper and lower balloon panels and the deflectable diaphragm are then coupled together along the circumferential edge to form both the lift gas chamber and the ballast chamber.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2015
    Assignee: Raven Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael Smith, Kurt Sehnert, Randy Scott, Justin Lee Marsh, Mark L. West
  • Patent number: 9132904
    Abstract: An air vehicle has a gas-filled hull of a flexible sheet material. Strakes extend along an exterior of the hull, each strake comprising a gas-filled tube of a sheet of a flexible sheet material. A rigid board extends outwardly from the gas-filled tube and away from the vehicle. A further sheet of a flexible sheet material extends from one side of the strake over the board to another side of the strake, to provide a strake that is generally triangular in cross section.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 15, 2015
    Assignee: Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited
    Inventor: Michael Durham
  • Patent number: 9108712
    Abstract: The invention relates to an airship comprising a flexible envelope having at least one adjustment region provided with two longitudinal adjustment elements mounted in opposition and mobile in relation to each other between a maximum distancing position and a minimum distancing position, the two longitudinal adjustment elements being connected to each other by a group comprising a plurality of cables crossing the inner space of the envelope, each of the cables cooperating with a plurality or tightening points provided along each longitudinal element. The cables are connected to at least one tightening module that can exert a tightening or loosening action on the cables and thereby bring the longitudinal adjustment elements closer together or move them further away.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2015
    Assignee: VOLIRIS
    Inventor: Alain Bernard
  • Patent number: 9103946
    Abstract: Wind parameter indication device and method for providing an indication of wind speed and wind direction. The device is deployed along an aerial trajectory toward a ground surface, such as after being ejected from an aircraft in flight. The device includes an anemometer, an altimeter, a compass, a processor and a transmitter. The anemometer obtains local wind speed and local wind direction measurements along the trajectory. The altimeter obtains altitude measurements along the trajectory. The compass obtains direction measurements along the trajectory. The device may further include an accelerometer, for obtaining acceleration measurements along the trajectory. The processor determines a wind speed value and a wind direction value associated with a predetermined altitude of the device. The transmitter transmits the determined wind speed value and wind direction value to a remotely located receiver.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2015
    Assignee: VENTUS-PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & CONSULTING LTD.
    Inventors: Itzhak Halfon, Yaniv Glozman, Itay Galim
  • Patent number: 9070289
    Abstract: A method and system for measurement of ground based vehicle speed includes a movable platform that includes an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) located in proximity to a roadway, the UAV operates under control and navigation of a UAV control unit, and the UAV also carries camera and monitoring equipment, the camera and monitoring equipment including an onboard computing system, and a camera with a wide angle lens and a camera with a telephoto lens, the cameras being mounted on a pan/tilt device. An algorithm operated by the on-board computing system is used to detect and track vehicles moving on a roadway. The algorithm is configured to detect and track the vehicles despite motion created by movement of the UAV. The cameras mounted on the pan/tilt device are moved under the direction of the computer vision algorithm to maintain a target vehicle of the detected moving vehicles in view, and the speed of the target vehicle is measured.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2015
    Assignee: Palo Alto Research Incorporated
    Inventors: Eric Saund, Christopher Paulson, Gregory Burton, Eric Peeters
  • Publication number: 20150144731
    Abstract: The present invention is realized by apparatus and methods for placing a large utility scale photovoltaic array in the low stratosphere of earth's atmosphere at an altitude of about 20 km, above clouds, moisture, dust, and wind. This is accomplished using a large light-weight, rigid, buoyant structure to support the large photovoltaic array. Long, strong and light tethers connect the buoyant structure to the ground and hold it in position against wind forces. The electricity output from the photovoltaic array is then coupled to high voltage transmission lines which connect from the platform to the earth's surface. The electricity is then transmitted through the high voltage transmission lines to the earth's surface where it is connected to the electrical supply grid and provides lower cost, more reliable electricity.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 3, 2015
    Publication date: May 28, 2015
    Inventor: Edmund Joseph Kelly
  • Patent number: 9022315
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method for handling at least one wind turbine generator component 104, 106, 108. The method comprises the steps of loading said at least one wind turbine generator component 104, 106, 108 to an airship 100 at a site of loading, transporting the airship 100 with the at least one wind turbine generator component from the site of loading of the at least one wind turbine generator component to the site of installation of the at least one wind turbine component, and unloading said at least one wind turbine generator component from the airship at the site of unloading by means one or more guide elements 150 extending between the at least one wind turbine generator component and another wind turbine generator component or the ground, the sea, a vehicle at the ground, or at a vessel at the sea. The invention also relates to use of an airship for installing wind turbine generator components.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 5, 2015
    Assignee: Vestas Wind Systems A/S
    Inventors: Rune Kirt, Mads Bækgaard Thomsen
  • Publication number: 20150108270
    Abstract: An airship (1) comprising a flexible envelope (2), a wall (3) located inside the envelope, and a pumping device. The wall (3) extends longitudinally between the nose and the tail, thus separating the inside space of the envelope into a first space (E1) and a second space (E2), said second space being located on the periphery of the envelope between a first point (P1) and a second point (P2). The pumping device is adapted to inflate the second space so that the envelope assumes a second shape, and to deflate the second space so that the envelope assumes a first shape which is different from the second shape.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 13, 2013
    Publication date: April 23, 2015
    Inventors: Baptiste Regas, Adrien Regas, Olivier Jozan
  • Patent number: 9014983
    Abstract: The platforms, systems, methods and computer readable media provided herein monitor a shore and near shore environment using a plurality of sensors, each sensor associated with a near shore water recreationist or near shore water recreationist equipment. The platforms, systems, methods and computer readable media provided herein include a server application configured to generate and transmit an environmental data report. The platforms, systems, methods and computer readable media provided herein include a device configured to receive the environmental data report.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2015
    Assignee: Blue Tribe, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael G. Uy
  • Patent number: 9004397
    Abstract: An autonomous stratospheric unmanned airship with an operating altitude from 5-22 km and with a multi-month operational cycle. Spheroid rigid geodesic frame of constant volume formed by a multitude of struts, with an outer envelope enclosing the frame defining the eigenfrequency spectrum of the airship above 20 Hz, with vibrational amplitudes between 0.1 and 1 cm. Independently controllable electrical propulsion units, attached to the frame in the horizontal plane passing through the center of mass, can change the direction and value of the thrust vector. Buoyancy is controlled with a system integrated inside the geodesic frame including buoyant fluid pressurized tanks, valves for the release of the buoyant fluid through the buoyant fluid conduit into the buoyant gas cell which fills the geodesic frame. Valves at the subsystem support platform enable ambient atmosphere to fill the internal volume of the frame not occupied by the buoyant gas cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 19, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2015
    Assignee: Hipersfera D.O.O.
    Inventor: Bojan Pecnik
  • Patent number: 9000605
    Abstract: A wind-based power generating system provides a wind energy converter for converting wind energy into another form of energy using a lighter-than-air craft configured to produce a positive net lift. The net lift includes both a net aerodynamic lift and a net buoyant lift. A tethering mechanism is configured to restrain the lighter-than-air craft with respect to the ground. The lighter-than-air craft defines an interior volume for containing a lighter-than-air gas, and the lighter-than-air craft has a fore section and an aft section. The tethering system has at least one attachment point on the fore section of the lighter-than-air craft and at least one attachment point on the aft section of the lighter-than-air craft. The lighter-than-air craft provides a stable aerodynamic moment with respect to a yaw axis about a center-of-mass of the lighter-than-air craft. The craft can be formed in a variety of aerodynamic profiles/shapes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 3, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 7, 2015
    Assignee: Altaeros Energies, Inc.
    Inventor: Benjamin W. Glass
  • Publication number: 20150078620
    Abstract: Provided is an aircraft having a spherical body which generates buoyancy or which may generate buoyancy when filled with gas, wherein the aircraft further comprises four actuation units arranged on the surface of the body for movement of the aircraft in a translation and/or rotation through air, and at least one camera arranged on or in the surface of the body. Further provided is a method for providing optical information to a person in the environment of a flying aircraft, a method for providing optical information about an object and/or surveying of an object, a method for transmission of acoustic information and a method for observing or tracking an object.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 19, 2013
    Publication date: March 19, 2015
    Applicant: ETH Zurich
    Inventors: Anton Ledergerber, Andreas Schaffner, Claudio Ruch, Daniel Meier, Johannes Weichart, Lukas Gasser, Luca Muri, Miro Kach, Matthias Krebs, Matthias Burri, Lukas Mosimann, Nicolas Vuilliomenet, Randy Michaud, Simon Laube, Paul Beardsley, Javier Alonso Mora, Roland Yves Siegwart, Stefan Leutenegger, Konrad Rudin