Wind and weather facility for testing free-flying drones

Noca, Flavio (School of Engineering, Architecture and Landscape (hepia), HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland) ; Catry, Guillaume (WindShape, Geneva, Switzerland) ; Bosson, Nicolas (WindShape, Geneva, Switzerland) ; Márquez, Sergio (WindShape, Geneva, Switzerland) ; Gros, Albéric (WindShape, Geneva, Switzerland)

Drones will soon fill our aerial ecosystem in the field of imaging/cartography, parcel delivery, and passenger transport, and will need to operate around the clock in arbitrary atmospheric conditions, especially in adverse weather conditions during emergency situations. Drones are much smaller than conventional aircraft and are thus more sensitive to weather conditions. Today, traditional drone testing techniques are of poor quality. Drones are either tested outdoors quite remote from the observer, in not well documented, uncontrolled and unpredictable weather conditions, or tightly strapped onto a support in a conventional wind tunnel with laminar and uniform wind flows, which are inadequate representations of atmospheric conditions relevant to drones. Existing tests, thus, entail a high risk of reaching false conclusions about drone performance. In order to resolve the issues associated with traditional wind tunnels or outdoor testing protocols, a real weather simulator for testing flying vehicles in various and controllable atmospheric conditions was developed. The wind and weather facility consists of an array of a large number of fans that may be arranged in various patterns on demand. It subjects drones to winds of variable intensity and direction as well as various weather conditions (such as rain, snow, hail, fog etc.) that reflect real world situations. These tests can rate drones according to their capacity in maintaining a proper flight attitude and tackling flight perturbations in an urban, countryside, or high altitude environment.

Conference Type:
full paper
Ingénierie et Architecture
HEPIA - Genève
inSTI - Institut des Sciences et Technologies industrielles
Dallas, Texas, USA, 17-21 June 2019
Dallas, Texas, USA
17-21 June 2019
12 p.
Published in:
Proceedings of AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition, 17-21 June 2019, Dallas, Texas, USA
Appears in Collection:

 Record created 2020-03-10, last modified 2020-10-27

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