Date of this Version
Sensors 2019, 19, 2481
Traditional configurations for mounting Temperature–Humidity (TH) sensors on multirotor Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) often suffer from insufficient radiation shielding, exposure to mixed and turbulent air from propellers, and inconsistent aspiration while situated in the wake of the UAS. Descent profiles using traditional methods are unreliable (when compared to an ascent profile) due to the turbulent mixing of air by the UAS while descending into that flow field. Consequently, atmospheric boundary layer profiles that rely on such configurations are bias-prone and unreliable in certain flight patterns (such as descent). This article describes and evaluates a novel sensor housing designed to shield airborne sensors from artificial heat sources and artificial wet-bulbing while pulling air from outside the rotor wash influence. The housing is mounted above the propellers to exploit the rotor-induced pressure deficits that passively induce a high-speed laminar airflow to aspirate the sensor consistently. Our design is modular, accommodates a variety of other sensors, and would be compatible with a wide range of commercially available multirotors. Extensive flight tests conducted at altitudes up to 500m Above Ground Level (AGL) show that the housing facilitates reliable measurements of the boundary layer phenomena and is invariant in orientation to the ambient wind, even at high vertical/horizontal speeds (up to 5m/s) for the UAS. A low standard deviation of errors shows a good agreement between the ascent and descent profiles and proves our unique design is reliable for various UAS missions.