Autonomous aerial water sampling

John Paul Ore, Sebastian Elbaum, Amy Burgin, Baoliang Zhao, Carrick Detweiler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


Obtaining spatially separated, high-frequency water samples from rivers and lakes is critical to enhance our understanding and effectivemanagement of fresh water resources. In this paper we present an aerial water sampler and verify the system in field experiments. The aerial water sampler has the potential to vastly increase the speed and range at which scientists obtain water sampleswhile reducing cost and effort. The water sampling system includes: 1) a mechanism to capture three 20 ml samples per mission; 2) sensors and algorithms for safe navigation and altitude approximation over water; and 3) software components that integrate and analyze sensor data, control the vehicle, and drive the sampling mechanism. In this paper we validate the system in the lab, characterize key sensors, and present results of outdoor experiments.We comparewater samples from local lakes obtained by our system to samples obtained by traditional sampling techniques. We find that most water properties are consistent between the two techniques. These experiments show that despite the challenges associated with flying precisely over water, it is possible to quickly obtain water samples with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationField and Service Robotics - Results of the 9th International Conference
EditorsLuis Mejias, Peter Corke, Jonathan Roberts, Jonathan Roberts
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319074870
StatePublished - 2015
Event9th International Conference on Field and Service Robotics, FSR 2013 - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: Dec 9 2013Dec 11 2013

Publication series

NameSpringer Tracts in Advanced Robotics
ISSN (Print)1610-7438
ISSN (Electronic)1610-742X


Conference9th International Conference on Field and Service Robotics, FSR 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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