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Title: Sensor-Integrated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: A Pilot Design for Albedo Monitoring
Authors: Ubellacker, Kaley
Wallace, Charlotte "Coco"
Advisors: Hultmark, Marcus
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Class Year: 2021
Abstract: Climate change is an undeniable, growing issue in today's world, yet there remains vast amounts of unknown information regarding monitoring and mitigation methods across various geographical locations. Currently, satellites are the main source of environmental monitoring for climate change causes and effects. However, due to their positioning in space, the regions studied are incredibly large and do not provide a specific picture of the problem. This project provides a portable, easily adaptable solution via a pilot design for environmental monitoring. By equipping a drone with thermal and visible imagery and a pyranometer, a host of variables can be consistently monitored over very specific regions, smaller than the capabilities of satellites. In this project, a pyranometer is mounted to the underside of a visible and thermal imagery drone. The pyranometer measures both solar radiation and reflected solar radiation, which enables the researcher to measure albedo on any given surface. Albedo, defined as the ratio of the reflected solar radiation over the incoming solar radiation, provides insight as to the heat balance for a region. The fraction of solar radiation that is not reflected is absorbed into the earth, and this transfer of energy heats up the ground, subsequently leading to higher levels of evaporation and warming the air through convection. Thus, knowing albedo allows us to study these effects. An albedo visualization program was developed in MATLAB to produce graphics overlaid with orthomosaics of the studied regions. These figures provide researchers with an easily readable and understandable set of plots and images with which to interpret data. The data collected and analyzed in this paper verifies the efficacy of this design to measure albedo, with a fair degree of accuracy, in a variety of geographic regions and times of day. This project recognizes various shortcomings with this first iteration design and data collection methodology. With some modifications to the current design and experimental methodology, this project serves to be used in future applications in an environmental monitoring capacity.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2021

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