26 Apr 2022
26 Apr 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

A stand-alone calibration approach for attitude-based multi-copter wind measurement systems

Matteo Bramati, Martin Schön, Daniel Schulz, Vasileios Savvakis, Jens Bange, and Andreas Platis Matteo Bramati et al.
  • Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Geo- und Umweltforschungszentrum, 72076 Tübingen

Abstract. The determination of the wind profile of the lower atmospheric boundary layer is an important aspect of meteorology and wind energy science. A suitable tool to capture the wind profile is the usage of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This study describes an easily repeatable type of calibration process in order to obtain an estimation of the horizontal wind vector using a rotary-wing UAS in hovering conditions. This procedure works without using wind tunnels or meteorological masts: it requires only the data from the flight control unit and a particular set of calibration flights. A modified DJI S900 hexacopter has been used for this study. The UAS body has been encased in a styrofoam sphere, leaving only the rotors and the landing gear outside, in order to grant a higher level of isotropy with respect to the incoming wind flow. A model based on the characterization of the UAS drag coefficient is proposed for the estimation of the relative horizontal wind vector. Validation flights have been performed at the German Weather Service MOL-RAO observatory in Falkenberg, Brandenburg. By hovering aside of a 99 m high meteorological mast with ultrasonic anemometers, it was possible to prove the wind prediction capability and assess the accuracy of the model. The analysis of the power spectral density highlights how the system resolves atmospheric eddies up to 0.1 Hz frequency. The overall root mean square error is less than 0.7 ms-1 for the wind speed while less than 8° for the wind direction.

Matteo Bramati et al.

Status: open (until 16 Jun 2022)

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Matteo Bramati et al.

Matteo Bramati et al.


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Short summary
A multi-copter system has been calibrated to obtain wind vector measurements from its attitude. The calibration was performed using only the data from the autopilot and a particular set of flights. This procedure is easily repeatable for other rotary-wing systems, regardless of the size and weight. The multi-copter can sample the wind vector at 0.1 Hz frequency with a standard deviation of 0.7 ms-1 and 8°. This system will be used in future measurement campaigns inside off-shore wind farms.