UK SMEs Flare Bright and Zenotech have demonstrated how accurate wind maps in urban environments can be created to act as a critical enabler for future drone operations.

Wind modelling of urban, airport and industrial sites is a crucial element in the new landscape of UAV operation and data systems.

Accurate validation of highly localised wind models are critical to their adoption, as are the wind measurement tools necessary to validate such models.

Comparing models with real world

Flare Bright and Zenotech are publishing a comparison between Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) model results, static anemometer data and live flight trials of the SnapShot wind measurement nano-glider close to large buildings at Cardiff International Airport.

The results indicate striking correlation between the CFD results and the experimental flight test data, demonstrating a route to accurate validation of localised flow models to aid future UAV operation, as the airport buildings mirror the type of environments in urban areas.

The SnapShot nanodrone developed by Flare Bright accurately measures wind vectors at exceptionally high update rates and high fidelity. SnapShot can reach areas where anemometers cannot and is significantly cheaper and provides more accurate data than LIDAR.

‘Simply stunning’

Flare Bright’s Engineering Manager and Aerodynamics Specialist, Carl Sequeira will be publishing the results as an academic paper, with detail of the data collected and analysis of the results presented at the ICAS conference in Stockholm.

Sequeira said: “The results we saw were simply stunning – to see the tiniest wind features and vortices in SnapShot’s wind measurement drone match what Zenotech predicted is incredibly exciting.

“Given how critical the knowledge of safe wind limits is to drone flight, I believe this technology will open up entirely new markets and enable drones to fly safely in the tricky and variable winds that exist in urban environments. I’m really proud to have been part of this unique project.”
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