Can this Startup Prevent Drone Crashes?

April 24, 2016 by Alex Udanis

Drones are very sensitive to the wind. Can this start-up help prevent them from crashing?

Drones are very sensitive to the wind. Can this start-up help prevent them from crashing?

Even a small gust of 5 or 10 miles per hour can drastically affect the aircraft. You can spend hours watching drones crash in the wind on Youtube. Recently, a drone crashing into a man's head through a 5th-floor window has made the rounds on the internet. You can see the video below, fortunately, he wasn't injured, but be warned, the victim uses some NSFW language when the drone hits him. 

This is why you should check the wind speed before flying your drone


What is Vaavud?


The Vaavud app and Sleipnir - Source: Vaavud


A Danish startup called Vaavud is working on a solution to this problem. Vaavud's newest product is a specially designed wind meter that transforms a smartphone into a high-tech meteorological tool. Sleipnir, their new windspeed meter can measure wind speed and can determine the direction of the wind as well. The Sleipnir was named after the Norse God Odin's horse; Vaavud's first wind meter model is the Mjolnir, a Norse name you're probably more familiar with thanks to Marvel Comics.


The Sleipnir Device - Source: Vaavud 


The Sleipnir wind speed meter uses a unique asymmetrical rotor that accelerates and slows at different positions based on the wind’s direction. The acceleration is then measured by an internal sensor that performs 40,000 measurements per second. The compact sensor is powered through the smartphone's headphone jack.


The Vaavud App with wind speed and direction - Source: Vaavud 


Vaavud’s app saves the wind speed, direction, and time so that other users have the ability to view the information or add their own data. As of September, the Vaavud app has been downloaded 130,000 times and it captures 10,000 weekly measurements in 170 countries. Vaavud's wind measuring apps were originally developed for kite surfers, but they intend for the sensor and app to be used for drones, sailors, golfers, paragliders, scientists, and farmers.


How it works!

The Sleipnir with it's Vane Removed and PCB Exposed 


The Vaavud Sleipnir leverages the smartphone's abilities to capture audio by emulating an audio signal through the microphone port. To produce a signal, the device relies on an optical encoder sensor that uses an infrared emitter and receiver and a slotted disk molded into the vane. 


The Wind Vane From the Sleipnir 


When the wind blows the vane the duration of the pulses that are produced will vary based on wind speed and direction. Vaavud’s claim of 40,000 measurements per second is based on the audio-in capabilities of most smartphones which is around 44,100 samples per second.


The Crowd-Sourced Wind Data - Source: Vaavud App 


Thorugh the use of accurate, crowd-sourced data Vaavud hopes to achieve more accurate wind information that can benefit many people with various hobbies!  Right now Vaavud has the Sleipnir for sale though many outlines including their own website and Amazon. A big thank you for Vaavud for sending us a unit to take a look at!