Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are rapidly becoming an important component of the national airspace, especially at low altitudes (less than about 1,500 ft or 450 m AGL). To cope with the increased UAV traffic demands NASA is developing the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Traffic Management System (UTM), which includes separation management, scheduling, demand capacity imbalance, contingency management, trajectory definition and prediction, and importantly, wind and weather. Since many UAVs are very small in size they are quite susceptible to turbulence-induced loss-of-control and trajectory excursions, an important weather factor to consider in the management system is atmospheric turbulence.
The work funded under this proposal aims to (1) establish automated means for forecasting turbulence levels in the atmosphere that effect UAVs, and (2) develop and test translation algorithms to provide a turbulence hazard metric given the state of atmospheric turbulence. Since the weather effects on UAVs are so far not broadly appreciated by the user community, another part of this work is to (3) support a workshop on the effects of weather on UAVs to be held at NASA Ames 19-21 July 2016.