SNIFFDRONE is an R&D project funded by the European Union through the ATTRACT initiative in 2019-2020. The main purpose of the project was the development of a drone with olfaction capabilities to provide spatially dense odour measurements and autonomously localize the source of odour nuisances in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).
This development involved a number of research challenges, namely:
To design an electronic system that predicts odour concentration from sensor readings in complex and time-varying odorous gas mixtures using machine learning algorithms.
To integrate that system into a drone in such a way that the sensor readings are not affected by the propellers' downwash airflow.
To develop algorithms that produce 2D maps of odour concentration distribution, despite of the well-known complexity of concentration distribution in turbulent plumes.
SNIFFDRONE represents a significant leap forward in several aspects within the field of machine olfaction:
Up to now, odour robots have been tested towards single odorant chemical sources in relatively simple scenarios.
Most research in odour robots has been based in terrestrial robots
Novel understanding of bioinspired flying strategies based on insect navigation will be implemented and tested in real, large scale complex scenarios.