Drones for Water Sampling Bring Samples to Scientists

    drones for water samplingDrones have proven to be an incredibly valuable tool for environmental scientists: now, Reign Maker, a drone and data services innovation company, has developed a system using drones for water sampling.  Nixie, “the world’s first drone-enabled water sampling and data collection system, designed to drastically increase sampling rates and accuracy while reducing the number of required field personnel and eliminating the dependence on marine vessels,” says a company press release.

    Clean water demand frequent sampling and testing: government-mandated to ensure the quality of community drinking water.  Gathering samples and analyzing them, however, is a time-consuming and labor-intensive job.  The Nixie system is designed to automate the process by using drones for water sampling, and delivering the data to a central location.  “The system is designed to be intuitive and straightforward to operate in the field and conforms with the United States Environmental Protection Agency standards for water sampling,” says the press release.

    “With Nixie, we are committed to changing how water is analyzed worldwide, one sample at a time,” said Jessica Chosid, Founder and CEO of Reign Maker. “Our mission is to remotely collect, digitize, and transform commercial,  industrial, and agricultural water management across the supply chain.”

    drones for water samplingNixie Base consists of a patented drone-mounted water sampling attachment and lockable bottle cradle that easily and securely attaches to a drone while hovering. The drone then flies to the sample collection location and submerges the sample bottle 2 feet below the surface in currents up to 5 knots. As a result, it will not stir up sediment in shallow water, thus eliminating the risk of contamination. A technician then simply removes and replaces EPA-approved sample bottles from the cradle. Each operation can be completed in less than three minutes.

    The system uses easily available commercial drones: currently supporting the DJI M600 and M300 RTK commercial platforms.  Nixie uses the drones’ GPS systems “to log telemetry data, including time and location coordinates, to improve each sample’s chain of custody and to create historic GPS logs so Nixie can repeatedly dip into the exact same location to record water quality changes over time accurately.”   Nixie says they chose the DJI M600 and M300 RTK enterprise platforms for their proven safety, reliability, and ease of use.

    drones for water sampling“Nixie is a revolutionary system to accomplish a critical task better, easier, faster, more safely and more efficiently with drone technology, and DJI is proud that Reign Maker has developed it specifically for use with our premier drone platforms,” said James Thomas, Digital Lead, B2B at DJI Enterprise. “We’re excited to see how our drone technology can help Nixie improve the safety and quality of drinking water sampling around the world.”

    “The New York City Department of Environmental Protection alone collects 14,000 water quality samples a year, collecting 30 samples a day using boats, captains, and a crew of three at an average cost of $100 per sample,” added Chosid. “With Nixie, a crew of two can collect 120 samples in the same seven-hour shift, at a cost as low as $10 per dip.”


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