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CAUTION – An Innovative Aquatic Platform to Gather Water Quality Data for Environmental Studies

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Ocean and Marine Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Ocean and Marine

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.334.1 - 26.334.11



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Paper Authors


Daniel Villalobos

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Daniel Villalobos is an undergraduate Aerospace Engineering major at the University of Maryland at College Park. During a summer internship at the University of Maryland at Eastern Shore he participated in the AIRSPACES project funded by the Maryland Space Grant Consortium. As part of this project, he designed and constructed an autonomous boat for monitoring water quality in the Assateague Bay.

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Abhijit Nagchaudhuri University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Dr. Abhijit Nagchaudhuri is currently a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Aviation Sciences at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He is a member American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and, American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers(ASABE) and is actively involved in teaching and research in the fields of (i) robotics and mechatronics, (ii)remote sensing and precision agriculture, and,(iii) biofuels and renewable energy. He has published more than 70 refereed articles in journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Nagchaudhuri received his baccalaureate degree from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India with honors in Mechanical Engineering. Thereafter, he worked in a multinational industry for a little over three years before joining Tulane University as a graduate student in the fall of 1987. He received master’s degree from Tulane University in 1989 and doctoral degree from Duke University 1992.

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Madhumi Mitra Ph.D. University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Dr. Madhumi Mitra is currently a professor of environmental sciences in the department of Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She is also the coordinator of Biology and Chemistry Education. Dr. Mitra is actively involved in teaching and research in the areas of biofuels and renewable energy; applications of algae in food and environment; and water quality. She has published several peer-reviewed articles in journals and conference proceedings, and is the recipient of various awards and competitive grants. Dr. Mitra received her baccalaureate degree from Presidence College in Kolkata, India with honors in Plant Biology, Geology, and Physiology. She received her master’s degree from University of Calcutta, India, and her doctoral degree from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC in 2002.

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Abbas H. Diab University Of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Abbas Diab is currently an undergraduate at University of Maryland Eastern Shore pursuing a degree in Engineering with a mechanical engineering specialization. During his senior undergraduate year, Mr. Diab along with a group of undergraduates, worked on several academic and research projects. He designed and built several ground, air, and water platforms for precision agriculture reasons. Currently he holds the position of chair of the ASME UMES chapter.

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Xavier Shastri Domnique Henry University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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CAUTION – An Innovative Aquatic Platform to gather Water Quality Data for Environmental StudiesCAUTION – Cataraman-type Autonomous Underwater-sensing Twin-propped InstrumentedOcean Navigator platform was initiated during the summer exchange program of 2013 supportedby Maryland Space Grant Consortium (MDSGC) as integral component of AIRSPACES – Air-propelled Instrumented Robotic Sensory Platform for Assateague Coastline EnvironmentalStudies project at University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Nutrient run-off fromagriculture, poultry farms, and other anthropogenic influences are threatening the health of theAssateague and other coastal bays of the Delmarva Peninsula. While manned boats can benavigated in certain areas of the bay, many locations important for environmental and otherscientific studies are too shallow or spatially constrained to be accessed by large boats oraccessed by foot from the shore. The AIRSPACES project is directed by faculty in engineeringand environmental sciences at UMES and involves a multidisciplinary team of students to designand utilize innovative remote controlled and/or autonomous air-propelled, small-scale (less than1.5m in length) aquatic platforms instrumented with various sensors including GPS, depth, pH,dissolved oxygen, salinity, and nitrate to measure the geo-located water quality parameters in theAssateague Bay and other water bodies. Sensory platforms such as CAUTION that are beingdeveloped by the project team not only provide an innovative and challenging learningframework for the students but also contribute to a critical need in the region. An exchangestudent from University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) who was supported by MDSGCscholarship, have so far led the CAUTION efforts with support from UMES students. In thispaper we report novel features of the platform and preliminary trials with data collection runs inremote-controlled and autonomous mode. All spatial and water quality related sensory data arerecorded to a memory card on the boat for subsequent data analysis and mapping efforts.

Villalobos, D., & Nagchaudhuri, A., & Mitra, M., & Diab, A. H., & Henry, X. S. D. (2015, June), CAUTION – An Innovative Aquatic Platform to Gather Water Quality Data for Environmental Studies Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23673

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