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Water 2018, 10(5), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10050655

Evaluation of a UAV-Assisted Autonomous Water Sampling

1
Department of Agricultural Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0310, USA
2
Department of Statistics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1877, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 April 2018 / Revised: 8 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Water Quality and Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Water quality assessment programs for the management of water resources require the collection of water samples for physical, chemical, and biological analyses. Lack of personnel, accessibility of water bodies, and time constraints, especially after natural disasters and emergencies, are some of the challenges of water sampling. To overcome these challenges, a custom-made thief-style water sampling mechanism was developed and mounted on a multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for autonomous water sampling. The payload capacity and endurance of the UAV were determined using an indoor test station. The UAV was equipped with floatation, and electronic components were coated to prevent water damage in the event of a forced landing or for sample collection. Water samples from a 1.1 ha pond were collected with the developed UAV-assisted water sampling system and traditional manual methods. Dissolved oxygen (DO), electrical conductivity (EC), pH, temperature and chloride measurements were made on samples collected with both UAV-assisted and manual methods and compared. Percent differences between the two sampling methods for DO, EC, pH, and temperature were minimal except for chloride level. Percent differences between the two sampling methods for DO, EC, pH, and temperature measurements were 3.6%, 2.3%, 0.76%, and 0.03%, respectively. Measured chloride levels for the manual and UAV-assisted sampling methods were 3.97 and 5.46 mg/L. UAV-assisted water sampling may prove faster and safer than manual water sampling from large surface waters and from difficult to access water bodies. View Full-Text
Keywords: water quality; sampling; UAV; dissolved oxygen; electrical conductivity; temperature water quality; sampling; UAV; dissolved oxygen; electrical conductivity; temperature
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Koparan, C.; Koc, A.B.; Privette, C.V.; Sawyer, C.B.; Sharp, J.L. Evaluation of a UAV-Assisted Autonomous Water Sampling. Water 2018, 10, 655.

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