Abstract Title

Autonomous Multicopter Array Atmospheric Research Platform

group

Authors' Class Standing

James Pagan, Senior James Rogers, Senior Newton Kirby, Senior Evan Heister, Senior Gaurav Girish, Senior

Lead Presenter's Name

James Pagan

Faculty Mentor Name

E. Gnanamanickam

Abstract

A measurement platform of an array of multi-rotor, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being developed that will allow for a new technique to conduct atmospheric measurements. This project is expanding research capabilities specifically related to several fields including: atmospheric boundary layer turbulence, wind turbine turbulence effects on the atmospheric boundary layer, airborne disease spread patterns and air composition over farmlands. Currently, similar measurements are carried by conventional airplane UAVs, weather balloons or by the use of permanent structures such as towers. There are many drawbacks to these methods: the conventional plane cannot make stationary measurements, and must make successive passes to make multiple measurements at one location; a weather balloon has limited capability to change horizontal direction and can be subjected to strong wind shear forces altering its location; Towers are expensive to build and can provide measurements at one, single location. The current research seeks to account for and resolve these issues in the design and implementation of the multi-rotor array. The team has been developing a measurement system that has the ability to make multiple measurements using an array of autonomous drones. The concept behind the multi-rotor UAV design is to take an instrument payload to a certain location in the atmosphere, then station keep at this position for several minutes as data is collected. The multi-copters will fly in formation to carry out two or three dimensional measurements. In addition each multi-rotor drone will be able to make rapid position adjustments to compensate for detected wind effects whilst maintaining safe spacing from other UAVs in the formation. The UAV array method provides a low-cost and highly versatile method for conducting atmospheric boundary layer measurements.

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Autonomous Multicopter Array Atmospheric Research Platform

A measurement platform of an array of multi-rotor, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being developed that will allow for a new technique to conduct atmospheric measurements. This project is expanding research capabilities specifically related to several fields including: atmospheric boundary layer turbulence, wind turbine turbulence effects on the atmospheric boundary layer, airborne disease spread patterns and air composition over farmlands. Currently, similar measurements are carried by conventional airplane UAVs, weather balloons or by the use of permanent structures such as towers. There are many drawbacks to these methods: the conventional plane cannot make stationary measurements, and must make successive passes to make multiple measurements at one location; a weather balloon has limited capability to change horizontal direction and can be subjected to strong wind shear forces altering its location; Towers are expensive to build and can provide measurements at one, single location. The current research seeks to account for and resolve these issues in the design and implementation of the multi-rotor array. The team has been developing a measurement system that has the ability to make multiple measurements using an array of autonomous drones. The concept behind the multi-rotor UAV design is to take an instrument payload to a certain location in the atmosphere, then station keep at this position for several minutes as data is collected. The multi-copters will fly in formation to carry out two or three dimensional measurements. In addition each multi-rotor drone will be able to make rapid position adjustments to compensate for detected wind effects whilst maintaining safe spacing from other UAVs in the formation. The UAV array method provides a low-cost and highly versatile method for conducting atmospheric boundary layer measurements.