Wind sensing with drone-mounted wind lidars: Proof of concept

Nikola Vasiljević*, Michael Harris, Anders Tegtmeier Pedersen, Gunhild Rolighed Thorsen, Mark Pitter, Jane Harris, Kieran Bajpai, Michael Courtney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The fusion of drone and wind lidar technology introduces the exciting possibility of performing high-quality wind measurements virtually anywhere. We present a proof-of-concept (POC) drone-lidar system and report results from several test campaigns that demonstrate its ability to measure accurate wind speeds. The POC system is based on a dual-telescope continuous-wave (CW) lidar, with drone-borne telescopes and ground-based optoelectronics. Commercially available drone and gimbal units are employed. The demonstration campaigns started with a series of comparisons of the wind speed measurements acquired by the POC system to simultaneous measurements performed by nearby mast-based sensors. On average, an agreement down to about 0.1 m s-1 between mast- and drone-based measurements of the horizontal wind speed is found. Subsequently, the extent of the flow disturbance caused by the drone downwash was investigated. These tests vindicated the somewhat conservative choice of lidar measurement ranges made for the initial wind speed comparisons. Overall, the excellent results obtained without any drone motion correction and with fairly primitive drone position control indicate the potential of drone-lidar systems in terms of accuracy and applications. The next steps in the development are outlined and several potential applications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)521-536
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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