Comparison of Capabilities of Quadcopters for Use in Cryospheric Sciences

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Matthias Urs Herzfeld Mayer and Ute C Herzfeld, Univ Colorado Boulder, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Boulder, CO, United States
Quadcopters, small unmanned aircraft with 4 wings and 4 rotors, have developed rapidly in recent years. In this paper, we examine and compare the capabilities of quadcopters with respect of their capabilities for use in observations of glaciers and sea ice. We compare the following: Payload, size of aircraft, range and endurance, flight altitude, operation restrictions. Special consideration is given to the type of remote-sensing instrumentation that can be operated, such as video and still cameras, laser altimeters, geolocation such as GPS, and data storage and data transmission and communication. For illustration, we include examples from remote-sensing observations collected from other types of small unmanned and manned aircraft of glaciers and sea ice environments.