Calibration of Electrochemical Sensors for Nitrogen Dioxide Gas Detection Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Raphael Mawrence, S.M. Munniks, João Valente*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


For years, urban air quality networks have been set up by private organizations and governments to monitor toxic gases like NO2. However, these networks can be very expensive to maintain, so their distribution is usually widely spaced, leaving gaps in the spatial resolution of the resulting air quality data. Recently, electrochemical sensors and their integration with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have attempted to fill these gaps through various experiments, none of which have considered the influence of a UAV when calibrating the sensors. Accordingly, this research attempts to improve the reliability of NO2 measurements detected from electrochemical sensors while on board an UAV by introducing rotor speed as part of the calibration model. This is done using a DJI Matrice 100 quadcopter and Alphasense sensors, which are calibrated using regression calculations in different environments. This produces a predictive r-squared up to 0.97. The sensors are then calibrated with rotor speed as an additional variable while on board the UAV and flown in a series of flights to evaluate the performance of the model, which produces a predictive r-squared up to 0.80. This methodological approach can be used to obtain more reliable NO2 measurements in future outdoor experiments that include electrochemical sensor integration with UAV’s.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7332
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2020


  • air quality monitoring network
  • calibration
  • electrochemical sensor
  • nitrogen dioxide
  • spatial resolution
  • UAV
  • unmanned aerial vehicle


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