The first step of the ALPAGA project is to come up with a remotely controlled solution to air sampling. This includes a series of air tight containers, valves and pumps, as well all the electronics to drive them.
The drone will fly to some predefined positions in the air. Then, at each point, it will stabilize and wait until an operator on the ground triggers the sampling. The pump and the right combination of valves will operate, until a single container is filled with a fixed amount of air.
Once all containers are filled, the drone comes back to its home position. After landing, an operator will remove the filled containers and put new empty ones for the next sampling session.
This first test was dedicated to evaluating navigation, and remote control. The drone flew to different points, at different altitudes. At each position, we have successfully validated the remote control. This involved an XBee board, that feeds an Arduino board. A servo had to be turned to a specific position, to show that the command sent from the ground was successfully received and executed.