Unmanned Aerial Sensor Placement for Cluttered Environments
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Unmanned Aerial Sensor Placement for Cluttered Environments

Sep 03, 2020
Unmanned aerial vehicles have been shown to be useful for the installation of wireless sensor networks (WSNs). More notably, the accurate placement of sensor nodes using UAVs, opens opportunities for many industrial and scientific uses, in particular, in hazardous environments or inaccessible locations. We propose and demonstrate a new aerial sensor placement method based on impulsive launching. Since direct physical interaction is not required, sensor deployment can be achieved in cluttered environments where the target location cannot be safely approached by the UAV, such as under the forest canopy. The proposed method is based on mechanical energy storage and an ultralight shape memory alloy trigger. The developed aerial system weighs a total of 650 grams and can execute up to 17 deployments on a single battery change. The system deploys sensors of 30 grams up to 4 meters from a target with an accuracy of ~10 cm. The aerial deployment method is validated through more than 80 successful deployments in indoor and outdoor environments. The proposed approach has the potential to be integrated in field operations for data acquisition and can complement other robotic or manual sensor placement procedures. This would bring benefits for demanding industrial applications, scientific field work, smart cities and hazardous environments Farinha, A., Zufferey, Zheng, P., R., Armanini, S.F., Kovac, M., Unmanned Aerial Sensor Placement for Cluttered Environments, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters