PRECISE RADIONUCLIDE LOCALIZATION USING UAV-BASED LIDAR AND GAMMA PROBE WITH REAL-TIME PROCESSING
Keywords: UAV, lidar, 3D point cloud, radiation, real-time, first responders, source localization
Abstract. In this work we propose an effective radiation source localization device employing a RIEGL VUX-1UAV laser scanner and a highly sensitive Hotzone Technologies gamma radiation probe mounted on a RiCOPTER UAV combined with real-time data processing. The on-board processing and radio communication system integrated within the UAV enables instant and continuously updated access to georeferenced 3D lidar point clouds and gamma radiation intensities. Further processing is done fully automated on the ground. We present a novel combination of both the 3D laser data and the gamma readings within an optimization algorithm that can locate the radioactive source in real-time. Furthermore, this technique can be used to estimate an on-ground radiation intensity, which also considers the actual topography as well as radiation barriers like vegetation or buildings. Results from field tests with real radioactive sources show that single sources can be located precisely, even if the source was largely covered. Outcomes are displayed to the person in charge in an intuitive and user-friendly way, e.g. on a tablet. The whole system is designed to operate in real-time and while the UAV is in the air, resulting in a highly flexible and possibly life-saving asset for firstresponders in time-critical scenarios.