GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 150-13
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


DOBSON, Matthew1, RYAN, Shelby1, BEARD, Jeremy1 and FABER, Ethan2, (1)Red Rocks Community College, 13300 . Sixth Ave, Lakewood, CO 80228, (2)Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80228,

The emergence of readily-available compact unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has brought a host of applicable industries where this technology can be utilized. From firefighting to merchandise delivery, the implementation of autonomous aerial craft can remove the human element from hazardous situations, provide increased convenience, and even allow for a unique aerial perspective. Land survey, often carried out by costly satellites or manned aircraft, is a field that can benefit greatly from the inclusion of cheaper, smaller aircraft running automated flight protocols. Therefore, our student team designed a UAV to perform analysis and monitoring of slope stability.

The harsh slopes and loose volcanic soil of the mountainous regions in Guatemala City, Guatemala propagate landslide conditions, made worse by the lack of affordable land for housing development elsewhere. When relocation isn’t possible, the development of better preparation and evacuation protocols during an emergency can save countless lives. In the event of a land slide, this device can be easily deployed to assist in topographic evaluation during evacuation and rescue procedures. Topographical data of this region is outdated and inaccurate, thus a real-time small-scale aerial survey of the geotechnical features can provide the basis of a more comprehensive disaster mitigation system.

Our design will directly provide survey data for landslide-prone regions in Guatemala City, data which will create more robust topographical maps of the area. The UAV has innovative design aspects that allow for modular construction and impact resistant landing. The final goal is to integrate the survey methodology to unite local communities in a safer environment. A functional prototype quadcopter constructed from readily-available parts, capable of fully-autonomous flight, will carry out the surveying missions to assess the viability of this utilization of UAV technology.

  • Survey Drone Poster.pdf (5.6 MB)