Measuring the local wind vector (wind speed and wind direction) has been a crucial issue of aviation since its beginning and is also of great importance for unmanned aerial systems (UAS). UAS are applied more and more in civilian applications, such as infrastructure inspection, environmental monitoring, and search and rescue operations, which use the wind vector as data basis or where the wind vector has to be consider as perturbation. Most UAS are relatively small-sized (micro-UAS) and operate at low altitude. Due to their small inertia, micro-UAS are highly vulnerable to wind. Thus, high wind speeds and strong wind gusts in the target area may limit their use. Data from meteorological services like the German Weather Service (DWD) is insufficient, because it does not include real-time nor high-resolution local information. Thus, the on-board measurement of the local wind in real-time is fundamental for the operation of micro-UAS.
Scientists at BAM developed an approach for a copter-based micro-UAS that determines the wind vec-tor in real-time based on measurement data of its on-board sensors only. This method does not need any additional airspeed sensor, e.g., dedicated anemometer, and thus the micro UAS’ valuable payload remains free for other sensors. Wind tunnel and field tests were used to evaluate the performance of the approach. To quantify its accuracy, open field experiments were performed, which use an ane-mometer as reference measuring device.
Real-time wind estimation on a micro unmanned aerial vehicle using its inertial measurement unit
Patrick P. Neumann, Matthias Bartholmai
Sensors and actuators A: Physical Volume 235, 1 November 2015, Pages 300-310
BAM Department Non-destructive testing, Division Sensors, Measurement and Testing Methods