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Sensors 2016, 16(9), 1461;

Sediment Sampling in Estuarine Mudflats with an Aerial-Ground Robotic Team

INTROSYS SA, Introsys—Global Control System Designers, Parkim- Parque Industrial da Moita Rua dos Girassóis, n°1, Lote 6, Armazém A3, 2860-274 Moita, Portugal
CTS-UNINOVA, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL), FCT Campus, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), 1649-026 Lisboa, Portugal
Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT), 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares (C2TN), Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, E.N. 10 km 139.7, 2695-066 Bobadela LRS, Portugal
Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA), Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, I.P., Rua da Murgueira, 9/9A-Zambujal, Ap. 7585, 2610-124 Amadora, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: João Valente and Antonio Barrientos
Received: 1 June 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 27 August 2016 / Published: 9 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robotic Sensory Systems for Environment Protection and Conservation)
Full-Text   |   PDF [33445 KB, uploaded 9 September 2016]   |  


This paper presents a robotic team suited for bottom sediment sampling and retrieval in mudflats, targeting environmental monitoring tasks. The robotic team encompasses a four-wheel-steering ground vehicle, equipped with a drilling tool designed to be able to retain wet soil, and a multi-rotor aerial vehicle for dynamic aerial imagery acquisition. On-demand aerial imagery, properly fused on an aerial mosaic, is used by remote human operators for specifying the robotic mission and supervising its execution. This is crucial for the success of an environmental monitoring study, as often it depends on human expertise to ensure the statistical significance and accuracy of the sampling procedures. Although the literature is rich on environmental monitoring sampling procedures, in mudflats, there is a gap as regards including robotic elements. This paper closes this gap by also proposing a preliminary experimental protocol tailored to exploit the capabilities offered by the robotic system. Field trials in the south bank of the river Tagus’ estuary show the ability of the robotic system to successfully extract and transport bottom sediment samples for offline analysis. The results also show the efficiency of the extraction and the benefits when compared to (conventional) human-based sampling. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-robot system; field robots; UGV; UAV; environmental monitoring; radiological monitoring; heavy metals monitoring; estuarine mudflats multi-robot system; field robots; UGV; UAV; environmental monitoring; radiological monitoring; heavy metals monitoring; estuarine mudflats

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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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Deusdado, P.; Guedes, M.; Silva, A.; Marques, F.; Pinto, E.; Rodrigues, P.; Lourenço, A.; Mendonça, R.; Santana, P.; Corisco, J.; Almeida, S.M.; Portugal, L.; Caldeira, R.; Barata, J.; Flores, L. Sediment Sampling in Estuarine Mudflats with an Aerial-Ground Robotic Team. Sensors 2016, 16, 1461.

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