A Vision-Based Motion Control Framework for Water Quality Monitoring Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Fotis Panetsos, Panagiotis Rousseas, George Karras, Charalampos Bechlioulis, Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we present a vision-aided motion planning and control framework for the efficient monitoring and surveillance of water surfaces using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The ultimate goal of the proposed strategy is to equip the UAV with the necessary autonomy and decision-making capabilities to support First Responders during emergency water contamination incidents. Toward this direction, we propose an end-to-end solution, based on which the First Responder indicates visiting and landing waypoints, while the envisioned strategy is responsible for the safe and autonomous navigation of the UAV, the refinement of the way-point locations that maximize the visible water surface area from the onboard camera, as well as the on-site refinement of the appropriate landing region in harsh environments. More specifically, we develop an efficient waypoint-tracking motion-planning scheme with guaranteed collision avoidance, a local autonomous exploration algorithm for refining the way-point location with respect to the areas visible to the drone’s camera, water, a vision-based algorithm for the on-site area selection for feasible landing and finally, a model predictive motion controller for the landing procedure. The efficacy of the proposed framework is demonstrated via a set of simulated and experimental scenarios using an octorotor UAV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6502
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • UAV
  • autonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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