Low-altitude contour mapping of radiation fields using UAS swarm
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This paper addresses the design of lightweight radiation sensors for the small-scale unmanned aerial system (UAS) and its implementation for low-altitude radiation source localization and contour mapping. The compact high-resolution gamma-ray CZT sensors were integrated into UAS platforms as plug-and-play components using robot operating system. The swarm of UAS has advantages over a single agent-based approach in detecting radiative sources and effectively mapping the area. The proposed swarm consists of three UAS platforms in a circular formation. The proposed approach can potentially be used for low-altitude clustered environments where a conventional helicopter-based platform cannot be utilized. It can provide a relatively precise boundary of the safe area for potential human exploration as well as enhancing situation awareness capabilities for first responders. The source seeking and contour mapping algorithms are developed based on a simple 1/R2 radiation field, but they are validated in more realistic radiation field having multiple sources and physical structures with scattering and attenuation effects simulated by MCNP code. Also, gradient estimation and contour mapping algorithms are validated experimentally with small-scale multicopter platforms in the indoor flight testbed.
KeywordsUAS Swarm Radiation Mapping Source Search
This work is supported by a Grant from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC under Contract No. 0000217400 and by the National Science Foundation’s PFI Program, Grant No. 1430328.
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