4.2 UAV Platform for In-Situ Boundary Layer Wind Measurements

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 8:45 AM
Room 350/351 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)

In an undergraduate engineering project conducted through the University of Colorado at Boulder, Aerospace Engineering Department and Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV), students developed an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), to measure near real-time, in situ, three dimensional wind vectors in a pre-defined test space, with coincident cloud base altitude and footprint measurements. The BLISS (Boundary Layer In-Situ Sensing System) student engineers prototyped, manufactured, calibrated and tested a 5-hole probe to take relative wind measurements and controlled the aircraft with a modified open source autopilot. The cloud measurements were made using stereo camera observations to estimate cloud altitude and were performed with hacked “point and shoot” cameras to take full advantage of factory hardware, while students designed and manufactured custom brackets and image processing software. The performance parameters and data requirements were specified by Northrop Grumman to provide truth measurements later used to verify an atmospheric boundary layer model. The project design, manufacture, integration, test, and data collection efforts were completed over a nine month period.
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