Adapting open-source drone autopilots for real-time iceberg observations.
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Carlson, Daniel F.
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Drone autopilots are naturally suited for real-time iceberg tracking as they measure position and orientation (pitch, roll, and heading) and they transmit these data to a ground station. We powered an ArduPilot Mega (APM) 2.6 with a 5V 11 Ah lithium ion battery (a smartphone power bank), placed the APM and battery in a waterproof sportsman’s box, and tossed the box and its contents by hand onto an 80 m-long iceberg from an 8 m boat. The data stream could be viewed on a laptop, which greatly enhanced safety while collecting conductivity/ temperature/depth (CTD) profiles from the small boat in the iceberg’s vicinity. The 10 s position data allowed us to compute the distance of each CTD profile to the iceberg, which is necessary to determine if a given CTD profile was collected within the iceberg’s meltwater plume. The APM position data greatly reduced position uncertainty when compared to 5 min position data obtained from a Spot Trace unit. The APM functioned for over 10 h withou.....
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)14.A
Essential Ocean Variables (EOV)Sea ice
Maturity LevelTRL 7 System prototyping demonstration in an operational environment (ground or space)
Best Practice TypeManual (incl. handbook, guide, cookbook etc)
Spatial CoverageArctic Region
CitationCarlson, D.F. and Rysgaard, S. (2018) Adapting open-source drone autopilots for real-time iceberg observations, MethodsX, 5, pp.1059-1072. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2018.09.003.
- Arctic Practices 
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