Almost a decade ago, a small Seattle-based company won a NASA space-elevator challenge by beaming laser power to a robot that climbed up a cable suspended from a hovering helicopter. That company, now called PowerLight Technologies, is on the verge of launching power beaming commercially: initially over fiber to tethered unmanned vehicles, but soon after wirelessly to free-flying unmanned aircraft. Founded in 2006 as LaserMotive, the company in 2012 conducted a demonstration with Lockheed ...

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