London, Nov 27 : Aerospace giant Boeing is planning to build uncrewed planes that can stay afloat for as long as a month, powered by hydrogen.
According to a report in New Scientist, the aircraft is essentially a liquid-hydrogen fuel tank with a payload bay and very long wings.
This design differs from most other uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), which use their wings as fuel stores, thus restricting their aerodynamic design.
Because the wings don't have to serve double duty, they can be made longer, thinner and more efficient.
The craft's fuel tank would store liquid hydrogen in vacuum flasks, thawing it out as needed to fuel propeller engines.
Boeing has claimed that such a design could fly for 10 days or more at 60,000 feet (18,288 meters) and for as long as 30 days at lower altitudes, all while carrying payloads of up to 450 kilograms.
Those capabilities should appeal to more than just the military.
Such craft could make it easier to grab high-resolution aerial photos for online mapping services or wildlife monitoring, and could even provide wireless connectivity in remote areas.