Precision Airdrop from a Fixed-Wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
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Accurate mapping of the polar regions requires reliable placement ofwireless transmitting sensors, also known as beacons, on icebergs anddrift ice. This thesis considers the use of a specific fixed-wing unmannedaerial vehicle, known as the Penguin B, to accurately deploysaid beacons from the air. An analysis of the possible precision airdropmethods was conducted and the decision was made to release thebeacon in free fall from the aircraft. The estimated trajectory was calculatedand used to decide the optimal release position and direction.Combined this is known as the release configuration. Moreover, twodifferent aircraft path planning algorithms were developed in order toachieve the desired configuration.The final system, including the necessary hardware and software, wasimplemented into the provided framework. This system was furthertested through simulations in the laboratory in addition to some fieldtesting. The simulations revealed that with the most advanced pathplanning algorithm, it was possible to achieve a close to optimal releaseconfiguration. This further resulted in an airdrop where the accuracyof the impact depended primarily on the altitude of release, in additionto the unpredictable environmental factors, such as wind gusts. Thefield tests displayed that the system was successfully implemented intothe provided framework. However, unforeseen technical difficultiesrelated to the aircraft, outside the control of this project, preventedin-air testing.Under the assumptions made throughout this thesis, the simulationsrevealed that the implemented system was able to reliably deploy thebeacon such that it landed within a relatively small perimeter aroundthe target.