Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Plant and Environmental Science

Committee Member

Dr. A. Bulent Koc, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Charles V. Privette, III

Committee Member

Dr. Calvin B. Sawyer

Committee Member

Dr. Julia Sharp

Abstract

Water quality assessment programs require the collection of water samples for physical, chemical, and bacteriological analysis. Lack of personnel, accessibility of water bodies, and time constraints for water sampling, especially after natural disasters and emergencies, are some of the challenges of water sampling. To overcome these challenges, a water collection mechanism was developed and mounted on a multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for autonomous water sampling from water bodies. The payload capacity and endurance of the UAV (hexacopter) were verified using an indoor test station. The hexacopter was equipped with floating foam, and the electronic components were coated against water damage in case of landing on water due to emergencies or water sampling. The system was able to collect water samples 48 times out of 73 autonomous flight missions from a pond. The unsuccessful missions were mainly due to the malfunctions of the servo motor used in water sampler’s triggering mechanism. The servo motor for the mechanism was replaced to prevent the future malfunctions. UAV-assisted autonomous water sampling is a promising method for collection of water from water bodies. The system would be useful for collection of water samples from large lakes or difficult to access water sources. The details of the developed water sampling mechanism and the multirotor UAV, and experiment results are reported in this thesis.

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