There is tremendous interest in using small, unmanned, aircraft for purposes such as search and rescue, threat or emissions detection, and surveillance purposes. Many of these applications involve flight around urban structures that are well known to generate significant degrees of turbulence. For traditional aircraft this is not a problem due to their size and the fact that most flight occurs well above the ground.
However, as an aircraft becomes smaller and lighter (as in the case of a UAV), flight within urban environments introduces challenges associated with maintaining safety and stability. Therefore, research is ongoing into classifying an urban environment into smaller ‘building block’ elements that can be analyzed and assembled to generate an accurate windfield within an urban environment, simulating the wind patterns in and around these building building block elements, and using these wind patterns to develop autonomous control strategies that increase the operating capabilities of a UAV in these conditions.