Smart Remote Sensing of Environmental Systems Using Unmanned Air Vehicles

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

2010 8th World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation (WCICA)


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


Jinan, China

Publication Date



Remote sensing of environmental systems is getting more and more attention as the amount of applications and platform increases and costs are going down. Early applications were taking advantage of manned aircrafts and satellites to gather data but the trend is currently shifting to cheaper platforms: Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). UAVs have tremendous advantages thanks to their on-board processing and decision making capabilities, low cost and modularity. Despite all these features, most research only involves data processing and sets aside a “smart” data acquisition process. In this paper, we describe an autonomous methodology that optimizes the relevance of the data gathered by the UAVs for parameter estimation and updates the flight path accordingly. Based on an initial guess of the monitored system's parameters, the UAV computes a flight path to gather the most useful information. As data is gathered, the parameter estimates are refined and the trajectory is improved. An illustrative example is given to demonstrate to capability of the method.

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