This paper presents an airflow vector sensor for drones. Drones are expected to play a role in various industrial fields. However, the further improvement of flight stability is a significant issue. In particular, compact drones are more affected by wind during flight. Thus, it is desirable to detect air current directly by an airflow sensor and feedback to the control. In the case of a drone in flight, the sensor should detect wind velocity and direction, particularly in the horizontal direction, for a sudden crosswind. In addition, the sensor must also be small, light, and highly sensitive. Here, we propose a compact spherical airflow sensor for drones. Three highly sensitive microelectro mechanical system (MEMS) differential pressure (DP) sensor chips were built in the spherical housing as the sensor elements. The 2D wind direction and velocity can be measured from these sensor elements. The fabricated airflow sensor was attached to a small toy drone. It was demonstrated that the sensor provided an output corresponding to the wind velocity and direction when horizontal wind was applied via a fan while the drone was flying. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed sensor will be helpful for directly measuring the air current for a drone in flight.
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