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Autonomous Drone for Gas Detection


Autonomous Drone for Gas Detection


Ever since the first modern day consumer drone was introduced to the public, the general use of drones has gained massive popularity – mostly because of its numerous advantages. In other words, drones are everywhere and have spread widely.

Their commercial, research, military, surveillance and entertainment uses are expanding. In times like these, there are many researchers who want to maximize the potential of drones. In one paper, a team of researchers, Mousa Hussein, Othman Al Aidaros, Raahim Beg., Mohammed Al Dhahri, Sultan Al Neyadi, and Musab Asad of the Electrical Engineering department, College of Engineering, UAE University, try to do exactly that – discussing a drone-based gas sensing system from different perspectives.

Studying the Drone’s Autonomous Control and Related Issues

While at first the paper studies the drone autonomous control and related issues, it later compares the different gas sensing mechanisms and chooses one of them. In the beginning of the paper, the researchers are focused on the different and very popular drone applications which include but are not limited to:

  • Delivery of small items
  • Surveying dangerous areas
  • Military uses
  • Agriculture uses

“To serve gas detection and monitoring purposes, a wide variety of gas sensing technologies are available today. Gas sensors are used for varying applications, and can most commonly be found in safety systems. Common gas sensing technologies include thermal, electrochemical, mass, amperometric, potentiometric, conductometric, and optical sensors,” the authors note.

With this, it is clear that their focus is gas sensing. Because of that, the authors develop an autonomous drone gas sensing system with its subsystems in details, composed of three syb systems – ground station, the drone itself and its processing unit. They use a DJI 100 Matrice quadcopter as a powerful, stable and flexible drone for gas sensing.

Complete system configuration

Complete system configuration

Collision Avoidance and Autonomous Control

The authors also focus on collision avoidance with various sensors and visions, using advanced technology that detects objects and immediately takes an action to avoid a potential collision.

When it comes to autonomous control, the authors further explain:

“In order to achieve the autonomous flights, the drone depends on the location coordinates acquired from the GPS. There are two approaches to this mission. One of which is to follow a pre-determined trip by providing the trip coordinates in advance and programming the drone to trace them. In this case, sensors can save data and examiner can check them later. The second approach is to use the current location coordinates to determine the next point the drone should be at. ”

They also use equations centered around the distance, speed and time of the drone – the famous equation – which is divided by two since the wave has to travel forth and back again. Thanks to ultrasonic sensors, the objects will be detected in the direction of the drone’s movement in addition to the sides.

A Gas Sensing System that Integrates Drone Control with Gas Sensing Techniques

The results of their work come in the form of a gas sensing system that provides the user with two different outcomes:

  1. A gas distribution map (GDM) which shows the distribution of gas concentrations in the investigated area
  2. Thermal imaging which can detect gas leaks and is useful in hostile environments where the target and ambient temperatures pose risk to human health
An example of GDM

An example of GDM

As a conclusion, the authors sum up the idea of a drone-based gas sensing system which consists of two main subsystems (the drone itself and all related implementation issues) as a solution which works with a ground station, pairs and integrates autonomous drone control and gas sensing techniques.

Citation: Asad, Musab & Al Aidaros, Othman & Beg, Raahim & Al Dhahri, Mohammed & Al Neyadi, Sultan & Hussein, Mousa. (2017). Development of autonomous drone for gas sensing application. 1-6. 10.1109/ICECTA.2017.8252068.

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Cite this article as: Stefan Tasevski, "Autonomous Drone for Gas Detection," in, January 31, 2019,

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