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Persistent Autonomous Mobile Monitoring of Waterborne Biochemical Agents

Overview

The objective of this research is to study – in urban rivers, subterranean rivers, and other upland water systems – the ability of an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) with a plethora of chemical and biological sensors to detect and map hazardous organisms, chemicals, and munitions in waterways. In collaboration with scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), this project focuses on scientific studies and experimentation that will increase knowledge and understanding of how to measure key constituents in the water using an unattended autonomous surface vessel with a range of chemical and biological sensors. Efficacy of the approach, the ability of the sensors to detect various chemicals and biology, and the quality of the data will also be assessed. The measurements made by the ASV-borne instruments will be compared with in-situ samples analyzed with more expensive and expansive instruments and processes in a laboratory. The environmental forensics approach will help in detecting compounds and biogeochemistry that would indicate source (agricultural runoff, forest runoff, urban runoff, etc.), metals (especially chromium), opioids, methamphetamine lab products, illicit narcotics, FDOM, and material with fluorescent / toxic elements and heavy metal binders.

Additional objectives of this project include, reducing the size, weight, and power requirements of a test platform that is presently being developed at WHOI and knowledge and technology transfer from world-renowned experts at WHOI to faculty and students at Mississippi State University and collaborating scientists at ERDC/EL in-water analysis and autonomous surface vehicles.

Project Personnel

Dr. Robert Moorhead
Director
Geosystems Research Institute
Mississippi State University
Dr. Padmanava Dash
Associate Professor
Department of Geosciences
Mississippi State University
Dr. Gary Daniel Chesser, Jr.
Assistant Professor
Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Mississippi State University
Dr. John Wesley Lowe
Research Associate III
Agricultural & Biological Engineering
Mississippi State University
Dr. Gray Turnage
Associate Professor
Geosystems Research Institute
Mississippi State University

Funding

This work is supported by The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) federal award identification no. W912HZ-19-20019.

Period of Performance

July 22, 2019 – June 21, 2022