Drones in Arctic Environments: Development of Automatic Water Sampler for Aerial Drones

University essay from KTH/Maskinkonstruktion (Inst.)

Author: Sofia Olsson; [2018]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The purpose of the thesis is to develop a water samplingsolution to use with an aerial drone for remote water sampling and to investigate the feasibility of the system. The actuating hypothesis is that using a drone for this application will have many benefits over the manual methods, for example to reach inhospitable areas, improve data gathering and offer a safer work situation for the researchers. The research method has been empirical and exploring, by rapidly develop prototypes based on a pre-study, test the full test system and draw conclusions regarding the feasibility of the application based on the tests. Through the pre-study of the current water sampling process through interviews and a survey, a general user case was created. It was studied with a mechatronic perspective to understand how the current water sampling process could be adjusted to function remotely with a drone. The main focuses when developing the water sampler was to design a product independent from the drone with full automatic function, and to maximize its water volume capacity while minimizing the weight of the sampler to manage the drones barload constraints of 1 kg. Through workshop activities and methods from TRIZ theory, several concepts were evaluated. The main idea was to integrate the laboratory bottle with the water sampler. Two physical prototypes were designed to test the function of the concepts and evaluate them against the Ruttner sampler. The first prototype, the Wheel, has a simple design, is lightweight and mechanic while the second prototype, the Combination, is more complex, heavier and uses a mechatronic system. The prototypes were evaluated through functional tests to investigate its design and suitability to be used with a drone for water sampling. The behavior of the full test system, consisting of the Wheel sampler and a drone, was observed and analyzed through drone data when gathering water samples. The thesis demonstrates through field tests that the system, consisting of drone and developed water sampler, succeeds in gathering water samples remotely. Through tests of the water samplers, the thesis also shows the benefits and disadvantages of their proposed design for water sampling.

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