High Precision Deployment of Wireless Sensors from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
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AMOS - Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems - is a research center at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. One out of the 9 projects in AMOS researches how basic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations can be performed, and one of these operations is high precision deployment of a payload from a UAV. UAVs are normally used for tasks that are either too dangerous, too inaccessible or too repetitive for humans. These tasks may include sensors to be placed somewhere inaccessible or first aid equipment to be delivered to disaster areas.This Master Thesis describes the development of a high precision deployment system of wireless sensors from a UAV. The UAV will be controlled in a trajectory from an arbitrary start position to the point for deployment of the sensor. The Master Thesis contains description of the development and implementation of hardware and equipment that is placed on a UAV called Penguin B, as well as software to control the system. The software is implemented on a Pandaboard, an embedded computer situated on the payload mount of the UAV. The software communicates with the UAV's autopilot through an interface in DUNE, which is an open source software solution delivered by the LSTS research group. DUNE offers easy-to-use interfaces between the control software, the autopilot and all peripheral units.When the UAV reaches its optimal deployment point, it signals a drop mechanism to let go of the sensor.The system was tested with a hardware in the loop simulator, and with a field test where the UAV was taxing on the landing field. The results of the tests are that both the hardware and software of the system work as they should. The trajectories to the deployment point have been tested with success, and one trajectory is found to be better than the other. It can be concluded that this system has contributed a lot on the subject of high precision sensor deployment, and suggestions for further development are given at the end of the thesis.