Makani Journey
1.0

Scale and automation have risen through many generations of Makani prototypes.

1.1

Soft kite beginnings

We started with a fabric kite that resembled kiteboarding gear. Combined with a ground station, generator, integrated sensors, and a lighting system for overnight flights, it was a full kite testing platform.

  • Model: Enterprise
  • Year: 2008
  • Wingspan: N/A
  • Rated Power: 2 kW
Soft kite beginnings
1.2

The first wings

We needed more efficiency and control, and that led us to develop rigid kites with a wing that could carry onboard rotors. These prototypes harnessed apparent wind for higher lift and more energy production. Test flights with an autonomous controller lasted for hours at a time.

  • Model: Wing 4
  • Year: 2010
  • Wingspan: 5.5 m
  • Rated Power: 10 kW
The first wings
1.3

Small-scale kites

Next we tested complete small-scale kite prototypes in a broad range of wind and environmental conditions. We solved major technical challenges, like transitioning between vertical hover flight and energy-generating crosswind flight.

  • Model: Wing 7
  • Year: 2013
  • Wingspan: 8 m
  • Rated Power: 20 kW
Small-scale kites
1.4

Large-scale kites

Our latest prototype puts everything we learned on a smaller scale into a kite with a wingspan three times longer and a generating capacity 30 times greater. Flight tests with the M600 are ongoing as we continue to prepare energy kites for cost-effective, utility-scale energy production.

  • Model: M600
  • Year: 2016
  • Wingspan: 26 m
  • Rated Power: 600 kW
Large-scale kites
1.5

Makani m600 in crosswind flight

In December 2016, Makani first generated electricity in crosswind flight with the M600, an energy kite designed to produce up to 600 kilowatts ― enough to power about 300 homes.

  • Model: M600
  • Year: 2016
  • Wingspan: 26 m
  • Rated Power: 600 kW
2.0

Makani is on a data-driven path toward a fully-integrated wind energy system.

Performance and reliability testing
2.1

Performance and reliability testing

Each subsystem in the kite is validated for flight. Rigorous reliability tests, such as vibration testing for circuit boards and structural load tests for the wing, lead to robust performance.

Controlled experiments
2.2

Controlled experiments

Hundreds of controlled experiments provide performance validation data, proving the strength of our tether, the generating capacity of our electric motors, the fidelity of our flight controller software, and signal strength in our communications systems.

Open dialogues
2.3

Open dialogues

We talk often with regulatory, aviation, environmental, and community stakeholders. Data and analytics play a key role as we discuss future operations in and around national airspace and local communities.

Flight simulation
2.4

Flight simulation

We run thousands of scenarios in flight simulation software on a regular basis. It helps improve our algorithms for kite performance in a broad range of environmental conditions.

Flight tests
2.5

Flight tests

We gather data about our full energy kite system during ongoing crosswind flights. With each flight test, we refine system-level performance and operations.

About the technology