Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-3125

Monitoring the Spread of a Plant Pathogen in the Lower Atmosphere using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and a Buoyancy-Controlled Weather Balloon 2009-01-3125

This paper describes an experimental framework to track a meteorological balloon at low altitudes using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The purpose of the experiment is to simulate the trajectories of plant pathogen spores using a buoyancy controlled weather balloon. In the described framework the balloon is instrumented with an onboard telemetry unit to broadcast its GPS coordinates and other flight and meteorological data. The UAV's circular flight pattern is centered on the current position of the balloon, where the position coordinates are shared over a wireless network. The principal advantage of using the weather balloon is to increase the likelihood of detecting airborne pathogens by sampling inside the spore plume. The apparatus enables the UAVs to sample larger distances away from the source than previously possible.


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