The U.S. Geological Survey and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are cooperatively investigating the utility of unmanned vehicles for near-real-time autonomous surveys of geophysical data collection. Initially focused on unmanned ground vehicle collection of magnetic data, this cooperative effort has brought unmanned surveying, precision guidance, near-real-time communication, on-the-fly data processing, and near-real-time data interpretation into the realm of ground geophysical surveying, all of which offer advantages over current methods of manned collection of ground magnetic data. An unmanned ground vehicle mission has demonstrated that these vehicles can successfully complete missions to collect geophysical data, and add advantages in data collection, processing, and interpretation. We view the current experiment as an initial phase in further unmanned vehicle data-collection missions, including aerial surveying.
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USGS Numbered Series
Investigations into near-real-time surveying for geophysical data collection using an autonomous ground vehicle
U.S. Geological Survey
Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center