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Advanced Sensing Technologies for UAV-Based Environmental Monitoring Applications

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Intelligent Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2023) | Viewed by 4643

Special Issue Editors

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 00133 Rome, Italy
Interests: laser sensors for application and diagnostics in environmental science; detection and identification of chemical/biological agents in CBRNe events; diagnostics for Fusion Reactors
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Guest Editor
Institute of Technical Physics, German Aerospace Center(DLR), Im Langen Grund 1, 74239 Hardhausen, Germany
Interests: lasers; spectroscopy; standoff detection; Mie; Raman; LIF

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Guest Editor
Federal Highway Research Institute, Brüderstraße 53, 51427 Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
Interests: near-road air quality monitoring; mobile measurements; unmanned aerial verhicles; nitrogen oxides; particulate matter; ultrafine particles; environmentally sensitive traffic management; abrasion

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of unmanned flight systems has increased in recent years and currently includes many different areas of application. Drones are used, for example, for video surveillance and visual observation of systems and infrastructures, and has been established for measuring meteorological parameters. In comparison, environmental monitoring with miniaturized devices or special detection systems installed on drones is a young discipline, but it promises a very high level of flexibility regarding the choice of place of use and of measurement parameters, as well as rapid operational readiness in contrast or in support to ground-based and permanently installed measuring devices. The miniaturization of high-quality measurement technology is increasingly opening up opportunities to use drones to record environmental parameters and pollutants. Many of application examples are subjects of current research. This Special Issue of Sensors aims at collecting original research papers to contribute to the discussion on the use of drones in the field of environmental monitoring: It includes the following (but is not limited to them):

  • Radioactivity measurements
  • Smoke, Aerosol and bio-aerosol measurements
  • Measurements of hazardous substances in the air as well as on difficult to access grounds
  • Measurements of meteorological parameters and air quality
  • Agriculture applications
  • Gas and particle measurements on volcanoes
  • Data management, transfer, visualization of measurements with drones
  • Post processing and data assimilation
  • Miniaturization of reference methods for use on drones 

Dr. Pasqualino Gaudio
Dr. Frank Duschek
Dr. Anja Baum
Guest Editors

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  • UAS
  • RPAS
  • environmental measurements
  • measuremens of pollution
  • hazard detection
  • measurements of aggressive agents
  • miniaturization techniques
  • measurements of CBRN agents

Published Papers (1 paper)

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24 pages, 21638 KiB  
Real-Time Gamma Radioactive Source Localization by Data Fusion of 3D-LiDAR Terrain Scan and Radiation Data from Semi-Autonomous UAV Flights
by Stephan Schraml, Michael Hubner, Philip Taupe, Michael Hofstätter, Philipp Amon and Dieter Rothbacher
Sensors 2022, 22(23), 9198; - 26 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3965
Rapid and accurate reconnaissance in the event of radiological and nuclear (RN) incidents or attacks is vital to launch an appropriate response. This need is made stronger by the increasing threat of RN attacks on soft targets and critical infrastructure in densely populated [...] Read more.
Rapid and accurate reconnaissance in the event of radiological and nuclear (RN) incidents or attacks is vital to launch an appropriate response. This need is made stronger by the increasing threat of RN attacks on soft targets and critical infrastructure in densely populated areas. In such an event, even small radioactive sources can cause major disruption to the general population. In this work, we present a real-time radiological source localization method based on an optimization problem considering a background and radiation model. Supported by extensive real-world experiments, we show that an airborne system using this method is capable for reliably locating category 3–4 radioactive sources according to IAEA safety standards in real time from altitudes up to 150 m. A sensor bundle including a LiDAR sensor, a Gamma probe as well as a communication module was mounted on a UAV that served as a carrier platform. The method was evaluated on a comprehensive set of test flights, including 28 flight scenarios over 316 min using three different radiation sources. All additional gamma sources were correctly detected, multiple sources were detected if they were sufficiently separated from each other, with the distance between the true source position and the estimated source averaging 17.1 m. We also discuss the limitations of the system in terms of detection limit and source separation. Full article
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