Adaptive Water Sampling Device for Aerial Robots
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Water quality monitoring and predicting the changes in water characteristics require the collection of water samples in a timely manner. Water sample collection based on in situ measurable water quality indicators can increase the efficiency and precision of data collection while reducing the
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Water quality monitoring and predicting the changes in water characteristics require the collection of water samples in a timely manner. Water sample collection based on in situ measurable water quality indicators can increase the efficiency and precision of data collection while reducing the cost of laboratory analyses. The objective of this research was to develop an adaptive water sampling device for an aerial robot and demonstrate the accuracy of its functions in laboratory and field conditions. The prototype device consisted of a sensor node with dissolved oxygen, pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, turbidity, and depth sensors, a microcontroller, and a sampler with three cartridges. Activation of water capturing cartridges was based on in situ measurements from the sensor node. The activation mechanism of the prototype device was tested with standard solutions in the laboratory and with autonomous water sampling flights over the 11-ha section of a lake. A total of seven sampling locations were selected based on a grid system. Each cartridge collected 130 mL of water samples at a 3.5 m depth. Mean water quality parameters were measured as 8.47 mg/L of dissolved oxygen, pH of 5.34, 7 µS/cm of electrical conductivity, temperature of 18 °C, and 37 Formazin Nephelometric Unit (FNU) of turbidity. The dissolved oxygen was within allowable limits that were pre-set in the self-activation computer program while the pH, electrical conductivity, and temperature were outside of allowable limits that were specified by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Therefore, the activation mechanism of the device was triggered and water samples were collected from all the sampling locations successfully. The adaptive water sampling with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-assisted water sampling device was proved to be a successful method for water quality evaluation.