Advice for autonomous bathymetric survey drone


I am a third year engineering student at the university of British Columbia, and I have been working on a project to develop an autonomous “Drone” for completing depth surveys on ponds. For now, my group and I are in the phase of narrowing options, and drafting our first prototypes, and we think that a system built around Ardupilot would be the simplest solution. However I have a couple questions.

  1. How difficult would it be to modify the current software for piloting Copters/Rovers/Planes to instead pilot a vehicle that would navigate on water

  2. Is ardupilot/MissionPlanner capable of displaying information from additional payloads, for example, an ultrasonic sensor, and could this data be programmed to, along with gps coordinates, be output via a .csv file for analysis?

  3. I am aware that in flightplanner, it is possible to pre-route the drones “mission” via the simple dragging and dropping of pins. Would it be possible to eliminate this process, and create software that would allow the “Drone” to autonomously scan the waters surface, in an orderly fashion, somewhat like a zamboni?

Forgive me for the layman nature of this post. My current knowledge of this subject is quite rudimentary, but any advice, or tips, of any kind would be greatly appreciated.

Robert P.

This RSV project might answer some of your questions: