Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 369–380 | Cite as

Unmanned vehicles for environmental data collection

  • J. Borges de Sousa
  • G. Andrade Gonçalves
Original Paper


Unmanned vehicles have already proved invaluable in environmental field studies by providing levels of spatial–temporal sampling resolution which could have not been attained before. Recent trends show that the levels of spatial–temporal sampling resolutions attained with individual vehicles are feasible for wide areas through the operation of persistent vehicle networks. The possibility of persistent sampling over wide areas has the potential to revolutionize environmental field studies. The roles of unmanned vehicle systems in future environmental field studies are discussed in the light of the recent technological developments and trends, along with the major challenges associated to this vision. The discussion is illustrated with examples of developments from the Underwater Systems and Technologies Laboratory from Porto University, Portugal.


Environmental data collection Autonomous vehicles Network vehicle systems 



Autonomous surface vehicle


Autonomous underwater vehicle


Commercial off-the-shelf


Conductivity, temperature and depth


Delay tolerant network


Global positioning system


Global system for mobile communications


Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems


Inertial motion unit


Remotely operated vehicle


Remotely piloted vehicle


Unmanned air vehicle


Unmanned underwater vehicle



The research leading to this article has received funding from the Fundação para a Ciência and Tecnologia under grant agreement no. PTDCIEEA-ACR17524212006 and from INTERREG III B “ATLANTIC AREA” under the Maritime Incident Research and Innovation Network (Marine) project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Engenharia Electrotécnica e ComputadoresFaculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Engenharia InformáticaFaculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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