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The Northeast UAV Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance in the US recently partnered with WindShape and TruWeather Solutions to test the impact of wind on the performance of different types of unmanned aircraft systems (UAV). “We know that weather impacts small drones in a variety of ways, and these tests have enabled us to evaluate the impact and each platform’s capacity to reject atmospheric disturbances and maintain safe flight,” says Major General Marke F. “Hoot” Gibson (ret.), CEO of the NUAIR Alliance. “This information is critical for the safe integration of drones in the national airspace and, hopefully at some point, unlocking the commercial potential of UAV.”
Windshape’s technology uses numerous small fans that generate variable wind profiles. This modular wind generation system enabled the partners to evaluate drones within a controlled, safe and repeatable environment for airworthiness and improved platform engineering, officials at NUAIR explained. “Our goal is to support the drone industry by providing drone-specific test solutions,” Guillaume Catry, CEO of WindShape, told “We believe we can facilitate the drone industry by allowing manufacturers to demonstrate that their drones can overcome weather obstacles and safely achieve their mission.” For its part, TruWeather has developed technology to better predict micro-weather so that UAV pilots can make more informed decisions and advance mission effectiveness. The more it understands how winds affect different UAV platforms, the better the company can tailor its micro-weather prediction to specific platforms.
Don Berchoff, co-founder of TruWeather, says, “TruWeather envisions a day when weather alerts and predictions are specifically tailored for each drone. A weather simulator to test and certify drones in varying weather conditions will enable development of drone-specific weather analytics to increase drone safety, productivity and revenue generation.”