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Electric Sky wins DARPA funding for power beaming

A startup called Electric Sky says it’s begun building its first Whisper Beam transmitter for providing tightly focused wireless power to drones in flight, thanks to a $225,000 award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Electric Sky will use the six-month Phase I award, granted through DARPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, to explore ways to adapt its wireless architecture to power a swarm of drones.

The first phase of the project calls for building and testing a lab-bench demonstration system that would operate at short distances. Those experiments are expected to supply data that can be used to upgrade the system for higher power and longer distances.

Electric Sky has offices in the Seattle area as well as in Midland, Texas. Its CEO is Robert Millman, who previously served as general counsel for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture. Former XCOR Aerospace CEO Jeff Greason is the company’s co-founder, chief technologist and the inventor of the Whisper Beam system.

The company’s mission is to pioneer novel electric power and propulsion technologies for aircraft and flight vehicles of all sizes.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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