“Onboard Turbulence Recognition System for Improved UAS Operator Situational Awareness” Paper Presented at SciTech 2020

This paper describes the development and testing of a turbulence recognition and decision support system for UAS that reliably quantifies turbulence and communicates results to pilots in a manner that is consistent with existing weather products.  It provides two primary outputs related to turbulence level, an estimate of turbulence severity category that is consistent with weather products such as AIRMETs and SIGMETs, and an estimate of eddy dissipation rate (EDR) that is consistent with existing weather products such as Graphical Turbulence Guidance (GTG) forecasts.  A prototype system was implemented and tested in a simulation environment built around a model of a large flying wing vehicle, and the system was shown to accurately quantify both EDR and turbulence severity category.  Continuous turbulence models and the suitability of these models for unmanned aircraft are also discussed.  The work was funded under Navy contract N68335-18-C-0349, and the authors appreciate the support of Ryan Paul and John Leonard, the Navy technical monitors.