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Wind Sensor for UAVs

FT Technologies has launched an ultrasonic wind sensor designed for UAVs (writes Nick Flaherty). The FT205 is built from a graphite and nylon composite, and weighs only 100 g.

FT205 ultrasonic wind sensor on a droneIt uses FT’s Acu-Res (acoustic resonance) ultrasonic technology to determine air speed, direction and temperature. It also includes a compass to determine the direction of winds up to 75 m/s, and can operate at altitudes of up to 4000 m and at temperatures between -20 and +70 C.

The challenge of using a UAV for wind sensing is that the sensor must be mounted away from the wash of the rotors. Every UAV is different of course, so the FT205 has been designed to fit either to a pole or to flat surface, and can be mounted upside down. It can output data via RS-485, RS-422 or a serial UART link back to the UAV, and the measurements can be set to metres per second, kilometres per hour or knots.

The sensor has been used in Spain on a UAV that was designed to fly at night to monitor wind speed and direction directly above forest fires. The UAV, developed by Dronetools, operated at a height of 15 m to relay accurate data about the direction of the wind to allow firefighters to tackle a blaze more accurately.