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Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  07 Oct 2020

07 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GI.

Experiments on magnetic interference for a portable airborne magnetometry system using a hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

Jirigalatu Jirigalatu, Vamsi Krishna, Eduardo Lima Simões da Silva, and Arne Døssing Jirigalatu Jirigalatu et al.
  • CMAGTRES, Technical University of Denmark, Centrifugevej Bygning 356, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

Abstract. Airborne magnetic surveys are an important and efficient tool for mapping the subsurface, providing insights e.g. into mineral deposits. Compared to traditional ground methods, airborne magnetic surveys offer great advantages with improved access and rapid sampling. But the cost and hassle of transporting and operating a conventional manned airborne magnetic survey system are strong impediments for its wider use. In addition, the conventional airborne systems are challenged by the need for low-altitude (≤ 80 m) surveying to detect small-scale subsurface features evident in ground surveys. Portable and compact airborne magnetic survey systems using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can not only bridge the gap between conventional airborne magnetic surveys and ground magnetic surveys but also complement magnetic surveys to fit broader geophysical applications. Therefore, developing high-quality, stable, and portable UAV-borne survey systems is of high interest to the geophysical exploration community. However, developing such a system is challenging owing to strong magnetic interference introduced by onboard electric engines and other onboard electronic devices. As a result, tests concerning the static and dynamic magnetic interference of a UAV are critical to assess the severity of the interference and can help to improve the design of the system at the early stage of development. A static experiment and two dynamic experiments were conducted to understand the characterization of the magnetic interference of our hybrid vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV. The results of the static experiment show that the wing area is highly magnetic due to the proximity to servomotors and motors, but the area along the longitudinal axis of the UAV is relatively magnetically quiet. To reduce the magnetic signature, the highly-magnetic servomotors on the wings were replaced with less magnetic servomotors of a brush-less type. Assisted by aerodynamic simulations, we further designed a front-mounting solution for two compact magnetometers. Two dynamic experiments were conducted with this setup to understand the dynamic interference of the UAV in operation. The results of the dynamic experiments reveal that the strongest source of in-flight magnetic interference is mainly due to the cables connecting the battery to the flight controller and that this effect is most influential during pitch maneuvers of the aircraft.

Jirigalatu Jirigalatu et al.

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Jirigalatu Jirigalatu et al.

Jirigalatu Jirigalatu et al.


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Latest update: 29 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Airborne magnetic surveys are an important tool for geophysical studies. Therefore, developing a portable airborne survey system is always of high interest to the geophysical exploration community. For that reason, we are developing a portable UAV-borne magnetic system using a vertical take-off and landing UAV. To understand the platform's magnetic interference, we conducted static and dynamic experiments, which reveals that the magnetic interference is mainly from electric current in cables.
Airborne magnetic surveys are an important tool for geophysical studies. Therefore, developing a...