We make use of the Splash Drones (see picture and video below) as the UAV for aerial imagery and point-based sampling missions. The UAV is a waterproof drone, making it suitable for over-the-water operations. Similar to other drone systems, it is equipped with landing gears for landing on land. Due to its waterproof chassis, it is also safe to land the drone on water if necessary. The UAV has a flight time of around 18 mins with a 4500 mAh battery, and has maximum take-off weight of 2.8 kg.
With its high navigational speed and maneuverability, the UAV can carry the sensor to collect environmental data at different locations, in a relatively shorter amount of time. This capability not only allow the vehicle to provide a large area coverage for monitoring purposes, but the sparse data points sampled around the mission area also provide crucial prior information for process modeling.
Mission for Point-based Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Sampling at Loch Raven Reservoir, MD
Attached with a DO sensor, the UAV was sent to perform point-based sampling along the shoreline of the Loch Raven Reservoir, as shown in the picture below. The UAV lands on the water surface at each location to allow the sensor to measure DO level. For demonstration purpose, we made used of the sampling points to train a Gaussian Process (GP) model and predict the DO level around the sensing region. The left and center plots in the picture below show the predicted DO level as well as the corresponding upper and lower confident bounds (uncertainties) of the prediction. A model-driven path planning algorithm may use these information to adaptively plan the trajectories for the vehicles to perform sensing at regions that are deemed important.