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Safer air travel: Laser air speed sensor

Invention Number: 
This invention will improve the safety of aeroplanes worldwide and could save the lives of countless people. It's a brilliant laser air speed sensor for commercial planes.

The Technology

Pitot Tubes are the current standard for aeroplane air speed sensors. Pitot Tubes depend on equipment that is prone to malfunction due to the need to maintain a clear channel/inlet. Aeroplanes currently deploy multiple redundant systems to avoid disaster; however, this does not address the underlying flaw of the sensor technology.

The COPLASS system is a laser based airspeed sensor for aeroplanes. It uses a laser to non-intrusively measure the airspeed of the flow between two points. COPLASS is not reliant on specific atmospheric conditions and does not require the introduction of any material to the airstream. This system provides a more robust and reliable method of sensing compared to current Pitot tube technologies.

COPLASS has the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of a wide range of aeroplanes including mass transport commercial airlines. COPLASS has the potential to replace or complement the use of Pitot tubes, providing a simple, robust solution to flaws that have caused major aeroplane disasters.

Key Benefits

  • Simple Design
  • Improved Safety
  • Overcomes flaws in current standards
  • Uses optics and electronics rather than mechanical
  • Measurement rates up to 15 kHz
  • Measures speeds down to 5 m/s


  • Improved aircraft safety
  • Providing a rapid approach to aircraft speed measurement

The Opportunity

This technology is available for collaborative research opportunities. The technology is also available for licence to companies and individuals.