The Latvian-based engineering firm SPH Engineering has actually established a system that allows the collection of water samples by methods of a drone to be totally automated. The option is based upon a customized DJI M300 RTK. The system has just recently been effectively evaluated by the Latvian Center for Environment, Geology and Meteorology (LEGMC).

Drone water sampling The

LEGMC is a government organization responsible for ecological tracking (water, soil, air) and quality evaluation in Latvia. Since conventional methods of water tasting are time-consuming, labour-intensive and error-prone, the LEGMC asked for Rīga-based SPH Engineering to develop a tool that would help the company get water samples from contaminated water quickly and safely.

SPH Engineering chose to develop a drone based water tasting system based on the commercially available DJI M300 RTK. To this end, the drone was geared up with a water sampler and a UgCS SkyHub on-board computer. The essential flights to take water samples are prepared in the UgCS ground control software and run instantly.

Automated procedure

The sampling procedure is completely automated. Initially, without the intervention of a drone pilot, the drone flies to the wanted place. The drone comes down to the needed height and then lower the sampler. As soon as the sample is taken, the drone increases again, and after that delivers the sample to the collection site.

The drone is geared up with a radar altimeter to measure actual time height to be able to perform throughout the descent to the sampling website. This altimeter also makes sure that the sample is taken at precisely the predetermined depth. Due to the fact that there is no human intervention, samples can easily be drawn from hazardous or infected waters, or

at cross countries from the coast. Benefits Alexey Dobrovolskiy, CTO at SPH Engineering, additional describes the operation of the system: “The system enables repeated sampling of water at the same area and at a consistent depth. A significant advantage of the optional equipment, consisting of an altimeter and UgCS software application, makes sure the security of the drone in flight as the improved overhead altitude precision.”

There are numerous benefits to utilizing drones when evaluating water quality. In 2019, for this reason, in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, TU Delft developed a ‘Pelikaandrone’ that might land on the surface area of the water to take samples. At the time, that drone was tested in practice at the Marker Wadden.