Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

John Gallagher (Committee Member), Yong Pei (Committee Member), Thomas Wischgoll (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, have the potential to vastly improve plume cloud tracking at low cost. Plume clouds can be produced from blast mining, chemical warfare, unintended man-made disasters, and natural causes. This thesis provides implementation of the capability to simulate a 3D environment in which UAVs are individually controlled and each report a plume's concentration value at a specific location. It leverages existing industry standard technologies, including the PX4 autopilot system, the Gazebo simulation environment, the Robot Operating System (ROS), and QGroundControl. The provided system integrates the existing tools with a plume model plug-in that provides simulated plume particulate matter concentration values that each vehicle can sense and use to track plume motion and extent. This thesis presents practical benchmarking of the integrated system and demonstrates that the product is sufficient to support ongoing experiments in distributed agent plume tracking and characterization.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Year Degree Awarded