Design and Test of Emergency Response Drifter with Low Debris Profile
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Affordable techniques for tracking point source water pollutants such as small-scale oil spills are limited to in situ drifters and manually controlled drones. The new age technology of low cost, areal footage via an off-the-shelf drone provides benefits of visual, real-time data as well as versatility in its movements and functions. On the other hand, the older technology provides benefits of extremely low cost per drifter and the ability for them to stay on station for days at a time providing data. Both platforms have negatives whether that is comparable cost, battery life, manpower or versatility. These negative aspects of either technology are exposed through this experiment. The question that is answered by this report is which technique for tracking point source pollutants is more effective? The method for testing this question involves building and employing both systems and comparing the precision and accuracy as well as weighing the positives and negatives. After conducting these tests, the older technology of deploying drifters is a more affordable, accurate, and precise method for tracking a spill. With improvements—and a lot more money—both techniques have the potential to be more effective. The simplicity of the drifter remains the reliable, efficient method due to its low cost for a high number of units and its on time on station abilities.