Drone-Enabled Sensing and Monitoring of Tree Canopies
Brudi, Peyton L., 1997--
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This multi-phase project was proposed as a senior design project for the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University by The Morton Arboretum, which is located in Lisle, IL. The ultimate objective of the project was to develop a universal sensor mount capable of accommodating small scientific instruments that can clamp onto tree canopy branches and is capable of being deployed and retrieved with a DJI Matrice 600 Pro unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The main motivation behind this project is that the tree canopy environment is difficult to study, as it cannot be easily accessed by humans. Research of tree canopies and the canopy environment is important, as it can help monitor tree health, monitor pest and disease outbreaks, provide a greater understanding of tree failure in storms, and support many other areas of biological research. Monitoring devices currently have to be deployed manually. The Morton Arboretum proposed that UAVs could be used to more efficiently deploy monitoring devices onto tree canopy branches. The team conceptualized and designed a novel system capable of achieving the ultimate project objective. Prototypes of the universal sensor mount and deployment system were fabricated and tested. The team successfully completed the first phase of the design project by producing a functional prototype of the universal sensor mount. The team also made significant progress in the second phase of the project by designing, fabricating, and testing an initial prototype of the deployment system. Further optimization of the DS is recommended before final integration with the UAV.