Platforms and Operations

Provides information on platforms used in CLOUD-MAP campaigns and operational considerations.

Fixed Geometry Swarm Formations for Lapse Rate Measurements

A semi-autonomous network of multirotor UAVs is designed to collect measurements from atmospheric boundary layer to measure the lapse-rate. The measurements are collected at different altitudes at the same time in order to capture the spatio-temporal variation in the pressure, temperature and humidity in the atmosphere. The swarm is centralized and communication between the UAV and the ground station is achieved through a combination of radio communication and wireless local area network architecture.

Adaptive swarm operations

Adaptive Swarm Operation uses a distributed algorithm using factor graph for deployment and coordination of UAV swarm in the environment. This algorithm supports the deployment of heterogeneous robots and facilities occasional arbitrary human input. Which means the same algorithm is used for the deployment of UAVs with different sensors, actuators and having a different operational regime with very little modification of codebase and changing parameters. Important behavioral features for the deployment operation has been encoded in the factor function of the factor graph implementation.

Tornado Intercept UAV (TIV)

The TIV is a custom fiberglass composite platform designed to carry meteorological sensors to target severe weather phenomena, including but not limited to tornadoes. The aircraft features a diesel-powered turbine engine, an autopilot with long-range telemetry systems to handle full auto waypoint missions in remote areas, and First Person View (FPV) video transmission for pilot situational awareness. The turbine is recessed in the airframe, which prevents direct water and debris ingestion.


The Skyhunter aircraft is an excellent COTS platform which is used as a sensor platform for the Cloud Map flight campaigns. Low cost and with a large internal volume for autopilot equipment and payloads, the Skyhunter can be launched by hand or catapult and skid-lands on its belly for use in unimproved flight areas where atmospheric measurements often need to be performed. It is capable of flying full auto waypoint missions and is equipped with First Person View video equipment for pilot situational awareness.


Mesocyclone Analysis Research and Investigation Aircraft (MARIA)