Product Development in University Driven Innovation : An action research thesis
Abstract: This project has accepted the challenge of integrating competence from six different academies to create a versatile innovation; an autonomous amphibious vehicle for environmental monitoring. Water quality is routinely monitored by manually collecting samples from water bodies which are later on transported to a laboratory where they are analyzed, or by sampling data from stationary sensors placed at strategic sites in different water bodies. The transportation itself can pose a risk to the quality of the samples since chemical reactions can transform the sample (such as pH and turbidity) over time and thus give inconclusive data. Stationarysensors give correct momentary data, but are restricted solely to a few specific points, and often monitor only one parameter. The purpose of the current product development is to contribute to improved environmental monitoring and to a sustainable society, by creating a new efficient technical solution that monitors, analyzes and obtains data on multiple parameters of water quality of water bodies. The long-term goal is to provide responsible authorities, local municipalities, and environmental scientists with a versatile sampling method that produces high resolution, accurate and accessible data. The product development process resulted in a prototype of an autonomous amphibious vehicle that can monitor different parameters of water quality in freshwater. The parameters registered are; pH, turbidity, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and total dissolved solids(TDS). This is conducted through an autonomous mobile vehicle powered by electricity, the vehicle is programmed to drive at the surface and stop at given geographical positions where a submersible subunit collects data from different depths before moving to the next location. The vehicle is designed to navigate also on moving water bodies such as freshwater streams. The prototype is expected to become useful in the context of water quality monitoring to increase awareness of water pollution and provide data for successful management action.
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