Airborne wind measurements


Dr. William Thielicke
Telefon: +49 (0)7621 582 83 46

The OPTOkopter has been developed for airborne, three-dimensional wind measurements. A high-precision, 3D wind sensor is carried by a drone that was built from scratch for this purpose. The drone was optimized for long flight times and precision flight. All wind measurements werde validated with the new wind lidar system of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany's national metrology institute. The mean deviation of the measurements was shown to be below one percent. A RTK-GPS allows for centimeter-level accurate, automatic flights.

Precise airflow measurements are important to understand, predict and simulate flow phenomena. Determining flow velocities is essential for:

  • Wind load and construction analysis
  • Urban climate analysis and building aerodynamics
  • Optimisation of wind farms and wind energy yield
  • Micrometeorology and gas dispersal

The OPTOkopter has been developed from scratch and is optimized for measuring flow velocities:

  • Calibrated, high-precision 3D sonic anemometer
    • True three-dimensional flow velocities
    • Uncertainties: Wind speed ± 1 % ; wind direction ± 0.5 °
    • Sample rate: 16 Hz
    • Reference ground station for wind speed
  • Optimal aerial platform
    • Perfectly stable, smooth and agile multirotor
    • Precise compensation of rotor-induced flows and platform motion
    • 40 minutes autonomy with sensor payload, quick battery swap
    • Weight: 4.9 kg, dimensions: 0.96 m ∙ 0.96 m ∙ 1.46 m
    • Wind speed up to 16 m/s, 7 Bft
    • Centimetre-level 3D positioning with RTK GPS
    • Automatic flight on 3D measurement grids

The OPTOkopter is used for service measurements and can be purchased as a complete package.

Our publicaton in the AMT journal about the OPTOkopter

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