High-altitude vertical wind profile estimation using multirotor vehicles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Capturing vertical profiles of the atmosphere and measuring wind conditions can be of significant value for weather forecasting and pollution monitoring however, collecting such data can be limited by current approaches using balloon-based radiosondes and expensive ground-based sensors. Multirotor vehicles can be significantly affected by the local wind conditions, and due to their under-actuated nature, the response to the flow is visible in the changes in the orientation. From these changes in orientation, wind speed and direction estimates can be determined, allowing accurate estimation with no additional sensors. In this work, we expand on and improve this method of wind speed and direction estimation and incorporate corrections for climbing flight to improve estimation during vertical profiling. These corrections were validated against sonic anemometer data before being used to gather vertical profiles of the wind conditions around Volcan De Fuego in Guatemala up to altitudes of 3000 m Above Ground Level (AGL). From the results of this work, we show we can improve the accuracy of multirotor wind estimation in vertical profiling through our improved model and some of the practical limitations of radiosondes that can be overcome through the use of UAS in this application
Original languageEnglish
Article number1112889
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the EPSRC CASCADE EP/R009953/1 program.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 McConville and Richardson.


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