Drone-Mounted Ultrawideband Radar for Retrieval of Snowpack Properties
Extracting snowpack parameters from snow cover on sea ice or land is a time-consuming and potentially high-risk task. Moreover, deriving such parameters by manually digging a snow pit evidently yields low area coverage. We, therefore, propose a practical solution to this problem by mounting an ultrawideband radar system onto an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to obtain information such as snowpack depth, density, and stratigraphy in order to increase personnel safety and extend coverage area. In this paper, we describe the development of radar system hardware and its mounting onto a UAV, as well as initial tests with this radar as a snow measuring device. Preliminary results from both ground and airborne testing show that the radar system is capable of obtaining snow depth information that corresponds well to in situ validation data with a correlation of 0.87. The radar system also works well while mounted on a UAV platform with little additional signal noise from vibrational and translatory movements.
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