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Quadrotor Flight Simulation in a CFD-generated Urban Wind Field
  • +2
  • Nicholas Kakavitsas,
  • Andrew Willis,
  • Ryan Jacobik,
  • Mesbah Uddin,
  • Artur Wolek
Nicholas Kakavitsas
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Andrew Willis
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of North
Ryan Jacobik
Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Tennessee Knoxville Knoxville
Mesbah Uddin
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of North
Artur Wolek
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of North


This paper presents a software pipeline that enables simulating a quadrotor’s flight in realistic urban wind fields where complex wind phenomena are common and have significant impact on vehicle dynamics. The pipeline integrates the OpenStreetMap database for obtaining real-world building geometry, the OpenFOAM computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver for computing a three-dimensional, steady, wind field, the Gazebo robotics simulation environment, and the PX4 software-in-the-loop autopilot. A 3D wind plugin is developed to interpolate a pre-computed CFD wind field at runtime during the simulation. The approach is demonstrated by comparing the flight performance of a quadrotor flying over a university campus environment with and without the wind field.
13 Mar 2024Submitted to TechRxiv
19 Mar 2024Published in TechRxiv