GPS Robots Swarm California Rivers

May 15, 2012  - By

UC Berkeley researchers have developed a method to learn about the quality, volume, speed, and direction of the flow of salt walter and freshwater through the Sacramento Delta. (Photo courtesy of : University of California, Berkeley.)

Swarms of robots equipped with GPS and sensors were released May 9 into California rivers to measure water flow, salinty levels, and pollution, reports The Floating Sensor Network is intended to change the way water quality and flows are monitored in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system.

At the University of California, Berkeley, a group of 100 robots was released into the Sacramento River near Walnut Grove. About two thirds of California’s fresh water is in the river system, supplying about two-thirds of the state’s population with drinking water and irrigation. The initiative is led by associate professor Alexandre Bayen at the Center for Informatin Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).

The robots each have a sensor to test salinity and a GPS unit from a smartphone. Some have propellers so they can maneuver around obstacles and reach specific destinations. The robots are also sending Tweets, to @fsnandroid61.

Watch Electrical Engineering Graduate Student, Andrew Tinka, describe the project:

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