Surface Wind Profile Measurement Using Multiple Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

2010 American Control Conference (ACC)


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


Baltimore, MD

Publication Date



This paper focuses on using multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for measurement and estimation of the mesoscale or microscale wind field. Low-level wind and near-surface wind could have many applications such as wind power harvesting, weather prediction, pollution dispersion, and safer aircraft landing/take-off, etc. However, current wind profiling techniques like balloons and meteorological towers are not only expensive but also inflexible. UAVs could be used to measure the wind strength and directions at a flexible position and altitude in real time. Moreover, groups of UAVs with a certain formation could measure the vertical or horizon wind profiling simultaneously. Given the measurements of an area, the wind field could be approximately modeled by a series of partial differential equations (PDEs). An incremental parameter estimation algorithm using single and multiple UAVs is developed. Preliminary simulation and experimental results show the effectiveness of the proposed method.

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