About project

Innovation

Ground-based, weather sensor network to provide vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles with the real-time, low-altitude, high-fidelity, visibility, wind and icing data to operate in Ohio.

Objective 

Ohio’s “LAWN” (Low Altitude Weather Network) will provide VTOL’s and the advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystem with the weather data needed to reduce accidents, comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, and improve VTOL operator efficiency in the low-altitude/beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) Ohio airspace they frequently use. The team intends to combine this program with a similarly timed Agility Prime Phase II and at the conclusion of both programs drive to a Phase III.

The five-year economic impact will be 75 jobs producing/supporting sensors as well as the software development and support.

Our team will create 12 Student Experiential Engagement (SEE) program positions and engage with NASA, AFRLNAMRU-D for internships and shadowing.

Background

Weather satellites, ground radar and vehicle-mounted sensors are not currently capable of providing low-altitude meteorological data to support safe or efficient VTOL operations; thus, the FAA, NASA, USAF, and industry have identified lack of low-altitude weather data as a critical need for the VTOL industry.

To address this need and accelerate Ohio to the forefront of VTOL industry support; the team will build and deploy an inexpensive, scalable, ground-based, weather sensor network whose data will be used to provide a real-time, state-wide, high-fidelity, low-altitude, atmospheric environment visualization. 

Visibility, wind, and icing are the three weather factors most critical to VTOL’s and other air vehicles. Starting with 25 networked sensors spaced at one mile increments, this technology will gather visibility data using commercial off the shelf (COTS) (Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5)) components and communicate that meteorological data to a server (bolt-on wind and icing sensors will follow). Using existing 3D Weather Visualization Tech developed with the FAA (TRL8) and being enhanced via an on-going USAF Agility Prime contract, we will then produce a computer-generated, low-altitude atmospheric visualization for Ohio VTOL pilots & controllers.

After validation, coverage will spread to more of Ohio and then be expanded to cover other states. Wind & icing sensors will be added to the device after visibility “goes live.”

Flightprofiler will produce the low altitude visualization, Ohio University will lead data management, and Ohio State Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) will lead sensor development and production.

Three federal partners are collaborating with our team: the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is utilizing this technology for Agility Prime, NASA is focused on Wxsensors and airspace management, and Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton (NAMRU-D) is focused on safer patient transport in austere environments.