Researchers from NTU tap on high performance computing to identify hazardous airspaces through urban weather simulations in order to facilitate effective route planning and management.

An important aspect of urban airspace utilisation that is often overlooked is the effect of building wake on the usability of the airspace. Given the relatively low crosswind and turbulence tolerance of a multirotor at cruise velocity, the crossing of an intersection with perpendicular funnelled flow could easily send the multirotor crashing into buildings or into the ground.

A team of researchers at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Air Traffic Management Research Institute, are leveraging on NSCC’s supercomputing resources to determine the fluid dynamic metrics that could be used to plot out hazardous airspaces to avoid based on prevailing surface wind conditions.

Urban wind field simulation was performed over a variety of terrain and buildings in order to identify very low-level airspace under or immediately above the building heights where funnelled, shear, or recirculating flow would pose a threat to multirotor stability or its track-keeping ability. Due to limitations with computational power and resolution of building models, only steady-state solutions could be used to construct the wind-field database.

The teams aims for the simulation studies to lead the way towards enabling Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) service providers to identify hazardous airspaces to be geo-fenced out from usage and to enable route-replanning without encountering additional hazard.

To find out more about the NSCC’s HPC resources and how you can tap on them, please contact [email protected].

NSCC NewsBytes September 2023

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