Community Engagement: UAV for Geographic Surveillance

Posted on Posted in Updates
RaptorTeam GUARDIAN is committed not only to succeeding at national and international competitions, but also being engaged in the community, using our knowledge and experience in unmanned systems to benefit others. We were approached by a Ph.D student from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) located in Prince George. His goal is to acquire remotely sensed albedo (the reflectivity of the Earth's surface) data to model snowfall coverage. He was initially interested in the Bormatec Maja, and contacted us because we had experience with it. Through discussion, we realized that a better system could be put together to meet his needs. Since we've always designed our systems to meet competition requirements, it was enlightening to see what mattered for such a different application of UAVs. For instance, we require high image resolution because it is crucial for recognizing target characteristics. However, since images only need to have better resolution than satellite imagery for this specific application, anything over 5MP would be excessive. The camera , which will be the Raspberry Pi camera, is secondary to the main payload - which consists of two pyranometers to measure albedo, and a datalogger. Because of our experience with our previous systems, we were able to come up with a cost effective and capable system to suit his needs. We have selected components and are integrating it into a system that is ready for flight upon delivery. The FPV Raptor was chosen as the airframe primarily because of the durability of the plastic fuselage and also since it is designed to be hand-launched. Hand launching capability is critical because the flights will take place in the Cariboo Mountains under snowy conditions. The flight control system is the PixHawk autopilot and we're excited to work with it because we only have experience with the ArduPilot Mega. We will be flight testing the system to ensure performance is up to our standards. Sharing our knowledge of unmanned aerial vehicles not only helps accomplish a particular task, but contributes to the overall furthering of development of UAVs. We are thrilled to be able to help others achieve their goals through the novel applications of UAVs.