Circling the globe in an aircraft that used no fuel would be enough for some to rest on their laurels, but the pilots of Solar Impulse 2 on Monday spoke of their new project.
"An unmanned version of Solar Impulse," aviator and engineer Andre Borschberg told reporters when asked what groundbreaking mission the Swiss-based team was tackling next.
Borschberg and his partner Bertrand Piccard took turns captaining the solar-powered plane on a record-shattering 43,000-kilometer (26,700-mile) journey across four continents, two oceans and three seas -- without using a single drop of fuel.
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That trip, completed in July, aimed to promote clean technologies through a spectacular physical feat that captured public attention the world over, Piccard said at a press conference in Geneva.
Having showcased clean technologies, the Solar Impulse project now wants to provide a practical application for them, Piccard added.
The Swiss aviators said an unmanned version of their plane could hover at altitudes relatively low compared to other pilotless craft such as satellites -- roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles) -- for months, possibly bouncing Wi-Fi signals to poorly serviced areas or collecting rare agricultural data.
The Solar Impulse drone would do work "hardly done by other types of aircraft," said Borschberg, who is Solar Impulse's lead engineer.
WATCH VIDEO: Solar Impulse Plane Takes Flight