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Improving Drone Performance in Headwinds


Testing a quadrotor drone in a wind tunnel.

Researchers at Tohoku University and the Kanazawa Institute of Technology say they have found that angling the rotor blades of a quad-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle can reduce pitching when attempting to fly into headwinds.

Credit: Tohoku University

Researchers at Tohoku University and the Kanazawa Institute of Technology in Japan say they have found that angling the rotor blades of a quad-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can reduce pitching when attempting to fly into headwinds.

Although a multi-rotor setup permits vertical takeoffs and the ability to hover in calm conditions, they are unstable in windy conditions, which cause the rotors to flap and the UAV to pitch upwards.

The researchers note pitching can occur on account of three factors--the drag of the body, the asymmetry induced flow distribution on the rotor with wind, and rotor thrust difference between the front and rear rotors.

Using a wind tunnel, the researchers tested various angles of rotor attachment to the quad-rotor and the effect on pitching moment generation. The team found that rotor tilting by 20 degrees to the outer side degrades the pitch of the vehicle by about 26%.

From Tohoku University
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