Design and construction of an Unimanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for urban Air quality monitoring.
Nangoma, Yudaya Nassali
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Different techniques to monitor the air quality have been undertaken in Uganda. These include air visual monitors, air quality phone application, etc. The existing real time station for air quality monitoring involves the use of large, fixed monitoring stations which are very costly to set up (over $150,000). High operating and maintenance costs result as well. In addition, this station only monitors air quality for Kampala neglecting other parts of the country. In the recent development of the Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV), a multirotor UAV suitable for air quality monitoring due to a much better spatial resolution of the air quality index, and variation of the pollutant heights was achieved. The project aimed mainly at developing the mechanical design of the UAV. The specific objectives of the project were to design the different mechanical components of the UAV, simulate and optimize the design under different conditions, construct the prototype of the UAV and lastly evaluating the performance of the constructed prototype. In the methodology, a chronological approach to the theoretical analysis of the methods applied to achieve the design was followed. Typically, it encompassed concepts such as paradigm, theoretical model, phases and quantitative or qualitative techniques. Four steps were followed to achieve the methodology chapter and these included; explaining the methodology approach, introducing the overall approach to the design process, describe the methods of data collection, describe the methods of analysis, evaluate and justify the methodological choices. This report presents the Design and Construction of Unmanned Ariel Vehicle for urban air quality monitoring in Uganda. The developed quadcopter UAV has an Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene frame (ABS), with a payload of 1.1Kg and powered by a battery with 5000mA hours. The UAV is equipped with a Nova (Particulate Matter) PM sensor, a microprocessor, and the flight controllers that are a suitable for autonomous flights. The UAV was tested by flying it in an open environment with normal atmospheric conditions. The UAV was laid on an open ground, powered using the power button on the joy stick, then it was given a throttle force to lift it up vertically to a certain altitude of about 8m, and here the PM nova sensor and the microprocessor were active and connected to the online database. The PM sensor measured the levels of PM and the raw data per second was sent directly to the database in form of graphs which was later converted into air quality indices. In conclusion, the approach was feasible because it produced meaningful pollution measurements. However, more work will be needed to arrive at a model that reflects the ground truth pollution values. Unlike the fixed air visual monitors, the UAV was able to collect air quality measurements for multitude of routes across the country and enable wider coverage thus serving various applications. Health aware individuals could take advantage of these results for cleaner route navigation. A lot of care and attention was needed during piloting of the UAV.