LOW-ALTITUDE LONG-ENDURANCE SOLAR UNMANNED PLANE FOR FOREST FIRE PREVENTION: APPLICATION TO THE NATURAL PARK OF SERRA DO XURES (SPAIN)
Keywords: Unmanned aerial systems, remote sensing, low-altitude long-endurance, fire prevention
Abstract. Unamnned aerial systems (UAS) show great potential in operations related to surveillance. These systems can be successfully applied to the prevention of forest fires, especially those caused by human intervention. The present works focuses on a study of the operational possibilities of the unmanned system “AtlantikSolar” developed by the ETH Zurich for the prevention of forest fires in the Spanish natural park of Serra do Xurés, an area of 20,920 ha with height variations between 300 m and 1,500 m.
The operation evaluation of AtlantikSolar is based on the use of Flir Tau 2 LWIR camera as imaging payload which could detect illegal activities in the forest, such as bonfires, uncontrolled burning or pyromaniacs. Flight surveillance is planned for an altitude of 100 m to obey the legal limit of the Spanish UAS regulation. This altitude produces a swath width of 346.4 m and pixel resolution between 1.5 and 1.8 pixels/m. Operation is planned to adapt altitude to the change on the topography and obtain a constant ground resolution. Operational speed is selected to 52 km/h. The UAS trajectory is adapted to the limits of the natural park and the border between Spain and Portugal. Matlab code is developed for mission planning. The complete surveillance of the natural park requires a total time of 15.6 hours for a distance of 811.6 km.