WINDSHAPE’S EXPERTISE AT THE SERVICE OF THE DRONE INDUSTRY
We support drone manufacturers for R&D and for showing compliance to regulations through rigorous and repeatable flight testing.
We support drone operators with periodic inspection of drone fleet.
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The windshaper – fan array or digital wind generator – is the centerpiece of the test facility. It is made of a large number of fans (more than 150 fans per square meter) which can all be controlled independently. This equipment makes it possible to generate an infinite variety of steady or time variable wind profiles.
The test section can either be fully open in order to enable free-flight; open with a flow straightener to reduce undesired turbulence when needed; open or closed with a flow contraction to increase the flow speed.
Free-flight testing is only good if we can get data from it. This is why we use motion tracking camera systems (OptiTrack Prime 17W) that allow to capture precisely the position and attitude of the drone during the flight in a non-intrusive manner.
For more traditional aerodynamics we are can use a robotic arm and a load cell to measure the efforts on the frame or on the wing. This is particularly interesting for characterizing fixed wings. Thanks to the robotic arm, the tests can be fully automated in order to increase the amount of data that can be collected per session.
Rain & weather
Windshape flight test environment can be further empowered by the coupling of weather generating options. We custom made rain injectors capable of making extra thin to large rain drops. Alternatively, we can easily move our windshaper in a climate chamber which not only makes it possible to test in cold environment but also in snow and icing conditions.
Winshapers are capable of generating an infinite variety of wind profile. Thus it is paramount to be able to measure and characterize the generated conditions. To do so, we use ProCap – a multi-hole pressure probe tracked by motion capture cameras. This system gives the possibility to get fast, flexible and reliable data of any flow profile. It allows to scan the flow and provides 3D velocity vector field in real time.
One of the major innovations implemented in WindShape test environments is the GNSS emulator. As an example, this system allows to generate real-time emulated GPS coordinated to be received drones flying in the test environment. This is quite powerful as it makes it possible to define a mission path for the drone, along which the apparent wind speed (from the windshaper) on the drone is coherent with the navigation data. Thanks to this implementation, the control system thinks the drone is moving and the test is even more immersive.