FT Technologies Announces New, Lightweight Wind Sensor for Use on Drones, UAVs

FT Technologies announced the launch of the first in a new generation of lightweight ultrasonic wind sensors — the FT205.

Made from a graphite and nylon composite, and weighing only 100g (3.5oz), the FT205 is designed specifically for use on drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).


FT205 Technology

Powered by FT’s unique Acu-Res® Technology the sensor uses ultrasound to derive air speed, direction and temperature. It also features a built-in compass.

Although light, the compact size and shape of the FT205 makes it physically very strong. It is resistant to vibration, shock, electrical interference and is also fully-sealed and water-resistant. It can operate at altitudes up to 4000m and at temperatures between -20°C and +70°C.

With low power requirements, and reading wind speeds up to 75m/s, the FT205 is ideal for UAV flight control systems and environmental monitoring from drones and remotely piloted aircraft.


Mount options

To provide accurate wind measurements, the wind sensor must be mounted away from the wash of the drone rotors. Every drone is different so the FT205 is designed to fit either to a pole or to flat surface. It can also be mounted upside down. It can output data via RS485, RS422 or UART. Units of measure can be set to metres per second, kilometres per hour or knots.

“The FT205 is the first in a new generation of lightweight ultrasonic wind sensors,” said Fred Squire, Director of Sales and Marketing. “It is unique in the market in that it combines a weight of only 100g with a wind speed reading range up to 75m/s. The light weight of the FT205 together with the proven FT Acu-Res® Technology make it ideal for use on aerial drones and other applications where weight is critical.”

Like all FT wind sensors, the FT205 was thoroughly tested in a HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Cycle) chamber. The FT205 was heated to +90°C and cooled to -40°C while being vibrated in six dimensions up to 60g. During and after the testing the test sensors continued to communicate accurately so it is well able to survive normal service.


Shop FT Technologies line of sensors at Unmanned Systems Source.


Inertial Labs Releases Affordable, Multi-GNSS Constellation, 1cm RTK Accuracy Dual-Antenna GPS-Aided INS

Inertial Labs, Inc., a developer and supplier of high performance Inertial Sensors and Systems, released an affordable, multi GNSS constellation, 1 cm RTK accuracy dual-antenna GPS-Aided Inertial Navigation System (INS).


Affordable Dual-Antenna GPS-Aided INS

The INS-DL and the OEM version, INS-DL-OEM, are multi constellation — GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, Beidou — GPS-Aided INS that achieve 1 cm Position and 0.05° Heading, Pitch & Roll accuracy. These high precision and high-accuracy INS are affordably priced at around $5,000 USD.

The INS-DL and INS-DL-OEM are compact and deliver high performance.

They are designed for developers of autonomous and unmanned systems; vehicles and small robots for precision agriculture; payloads for remote sensing and survey applications.

The INS-DL is available as a classic INS or as an advanced, GPS-aided Motion Reference Unit (MRU).

As a classic INS, it outputs Position, Orientation and IMU data for real-time and post-processing operation. As an advanced, GPS-Aided MRU, it outputs Position, Velocity, Heading, Pitch, Roll, Heave, Surge, Sway and Significant Wave Height data for survey, hydrography, bathymetry and motion control.

“GPS-Aided INS-DL is a result of significant efforts of our R&D team. It is a market oriented solution, geared towards applications, requiring the best combination of high performance and in a same time low cost ” said Jamie Marraccini, Inertial Labs’ CEO and President.


About Inertial Labs

This year, Inertial Labs celebrate its 17th anniversary as a developer and supplier of high quality inertial sensor based solutions for  land, marine and aerospace applications.

Since 2001, thousands of inertial systems, as well as those fused with other technologies like optical, laser, and GNSS systems, were successfully delivered to our customers for AGV, UAV, AUV, UUV, robots, land vehicles etc.


Shop Inertial Labs line of solutions at Unmanned Systems Source.


Introducing the HA32 UAV Antenna from Hemisphere GNSS

Hemisphere GNSS recently announced the launch of its all-new multi-GNSS, multi-frequency 4-helix HA32 UAV antenna.

The HA32 is a high-performance antenna. It supports GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and Hemisphere’s Atlas L-band correction service.

Designed specifically for UAVs, GIS, surveying, and RTK. It is also highly suitable for applications requiring high-precision positioning and navigation.


Proprietary Technology

The HA32 is built on proprietary 4-helix antenna technology. It provides high filtering and anti-jamming performance with LNA features such as low noise figure of 2.0 dB (typical) and up to 30 dB gain (typical).

Suitable for most outdoor and harsh operating environments, the HA32 antenna is sealed in a durable and ruggedized IP67-rated enclosure. It is also equipped with an O-ring.

The lightweight (40 g typical) and compact (40 mm x 75 mm) design of the antenna makes it resistant to wind when installed on UAVs. It offers easy integration with a single SMA RF connector.

“We are very excited to introduce this extremely competitive entry-level UAV GNSS antenna for a wide range of positioning and navigation applications such as UAVs, GIS, and RTK,” said Miles Ware, Director of Marketing with Hemisphere GNSS.


Hemisphere Atlas

Hemisphere’s Atlas is a flexible, scalable GNSS-based global L-band correction service which provides robust performance and correction data for GPS, GLONASS, and BeiDou.

Atlas delivers correction signals via L-band satellites to provide sub-meter to sub-decimeter level accuracy. It leverages approximately 200 reference stations worldwide, providing coverage to virtually the entire globe.

Atlas is available on all Hemisphere Atlas-capable single and multi-frequency, multi-GNSS hardware. It complements third-party GNSS receivers by using Atlas corrections with Hemisphere’s BaseLink and SmartLink capabilities.

Using multi-frequency hardware, Atlas creates faster convergence times, and is robust and reliable in canopy or foliage covered areas. Atlas Basic provides users of both single and multi-frequency Atlas-capable hardware the ability to achieve better than SBAS performance anywhere in the world where the Atlas correction service is available. Atlas Basic offers a proven accuracy of 30 cm (pass-to-pass 95%) to 50 cm (absolute 95%) and instantaneous sub-meter accuracy.


Shop Hemisphere GNSS at Unmanned Systems Source.



Introducing the AsteRx-i for IMU-enhanced GNSS Positioning and Attitude

GNSS receiver manufacturer Septentrio recently announced the launch of the next generation AsteRx-i. The announcement occurred at IEEE/ION Position Location and Navigation Symposium in Monterey, US.

The AsteRx-i combines Septentrio’s latest compact, multi-frequency multi-constellation GNSS engine with an external industrial grade MEMS based IMU.

It delivers accurate and reliable GNSS/IMU integrated positioning to the cm-level. It also delivers full 3D attitude at high update rates and low latency.


AsteRx-i key benefits:

  • IMU-enhanced GNSS positioning with full attitude: heading pitch and roll
  • Quad-constellation, multifrequency, all-in-view RTK receiver
  • AIM+ interference monitoring and mitigation system
  • High-update rate, low-latency positioning and attitude

Designed around demanding requirements for size, weight and power consumption, the AsteRx-i is ideal for optical inspection and photogrammetry.

Accompanied by a UAS-tailored carrier board, the AsteRx-i integrates seamlessly into light UAVs. The versatility of design and range of connection interfaces extend the AsteRx-i applicability to automation and robotics as well as logistics.

The AsteRx-i includes Septentrio’s GNSS+ suite of positioning algorithms to convert difficult environments into good positioning: LOCK+ technology to maintain tracking during heavy vibration, APME+ to combat multipath and IONO+ technology to ensure continued position accuracy during periods of elevated ionospheric activity.

It also features AIM+ interference mitigation and monitoring system which can suppress the widest variety of interferers, from simple continuous narrowband signals to the most complex wideband and pulsed jammers.

“Complementing our GNSS portfolio with an INS offering is a natural evolution of our product range. At Septentrio, we design our GNSS solutions with a focus on reliability and availability. Smart integration of inertial sensors builds on these strengths to make affordable high-precision positioning and orientation solutions possible for ever more demanding applications,” said Francesca Clemente, Product Manager at Septentrio.


Shop Septentrio’s line of products at Unmanned Systems Source.


About Septentrio

Septentrio designs, manufactures and sells high-precision, multi-frequency, multi-constellation GPS/GNSS equipment for use in demanding applications. Septentrio products are used in a wide variety of industries including marine, construction, agriculture, survey and mapping, geographic information systems (GIS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).


Altavian Awarded US Army TUAS Contract

Altavian, Inc., announced they were awarded a $250MM Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract with the US Army.

With this award, Altavian now supports the largest small UAS program in the world. It exists under the Program Executive Office Aviation, Products Office for Tactical Unmanned Aircraft (TUAS),

The US Army Family of Systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (FoSUAS) includes the RQ-11, the RQ-20. It supports control and communications equipment, and other technologies fielded over the contract period of performance.

All systems are for a single, dismounted war-fighter. The design enables the individual to carry, assemble, and deploy the system for immediate over-the-hill surveillance and reconnaissance.


Altavian contract award

Altavian supports the mission of the Army to provide critical, real-time intelligence for warfighter protection and extended operational reach.

“The entire Altavian team is proud to be supporting our warfighters,” said John Perry, CEO of Altavian. “It is part of our mission to design and build incredible technology. Knowing that it is at work in service of those who defend the United States is our highest honor. We are committed to meeting the challenges of this contract and accelerating innovation in the US Army UAS capabilities.”

Under this new contract, Altavian is in competition to provide quality components to sustain the FoSUAS fleet. It is also competing to provide upgrade offerings which increase capability, resiliency, and cost-effectiveness of the fleet.

New offerings include upgraded avionics and radios with increased frequency options. Plus, a handheld ground control station (H-GCS). Altavian continues to supply RQ-11 and RQ-20 direct replacement parts for the Government.

“We are proud to continue to bring competition to Group I [under 20 lbs] UAS.” said Thomas Rambo, co-founder of Altavian. “Our prior efforts were successful in breaking vendor lock on non-integrated components such as composite structures and ancillary parts. This new contract brings the opportunity to open the rest of the system (flight control, radio, payloads, and ground control) for greater integration. All the technologies that we are proposing for this contract embrace the US DoD’s Open Systems Architecture objectives and by adopting this technology will ensure the continued sustainment, upgradeability, and interoperability of Group I UAS for years to come.”

This contract has a base award period of five years and is the primary acquisition method for Group I UAS in the Army. Altavian performed sucessfully on the predecessor contract since 2012.


Shop Altavian’s line of UAVs at Unmanned Systems Source.



FT742 Wind Sensor Now Reads Acoustic Temperature

Recently, FT Technologies updated the 722 and 742 digital wind sensors.

Now, these models can read acoustic temperature as well as wind speed and wind direction.

The air temperature is derived from the operating frequency of the sensor. It has an accuracy of ±1°C.


FT742 wind sensor upgrade

Customers who currently use FT digital wind sensors for wind speed and direction measurement, can now read the air temperature. All this capability from one maintenance-free device.

The new software is available to existing users at no extra cost.

The FT742-SM model also includes an electronic compass.


How it works

FT wind sensors work by establishing a resonant, ultrasonic frequency in the measurement cavity. Sensors then measure the phase change of that ultrasonic signal as air passes through the cavity.

The resonant frequency varies with the speed of sound which itself is heavily dependent on air temperature and, to a lesser extent, relative humidity and air pressure.

Therefore, the sensor can derive the temperature of the air from the frequency of the ultrasonic signal. Hence, the name ‘acoustic temperature’.

The accuracy is affected by the temperature difference between the sensor and the cavity. This is common with all ultrasonic systems measuring acoustic temperature.

With the heater off, accuracy is ±1°C at wind speeds between 5m/s and 60m/s and at temperatures ranging from -20°C – +60°C.

Accuracy is ±2°C with the heater on.

FT sensors have no moving parts to break or degrade. As such, they are ideal for use in extreme conditions. Additionally, these sensors are great for extended operations.


Shop FT Technologies line of wind senors at Unmanned Systems Source.


About FT Technologies

FT Technologies specializes in the design and manufacture of high performance Acoustic Resonance wind sensors – also known as anemometers or air-flow sensors. All our sensors incorporate our own patented Acu-Res® Technology which enables them to deliver reliable wind speed and direction data, from compact, lightweight sensors. Users typically experience over 99.9% data availability, even in harsh climates with the toughest weather conditions.