Advancements of remote data acquisition and processing in unmanned vehicle technologies for water quality monitoring: An extensive review

Da Yun Kwon, Jungbin Kim, Seongyeol Park, Seungkwan Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Regular water quality monitoring is becoming desirable due to the increase in water pollution caused by both climate change and the generation of industrial chemicals. Unmanned vehicles have emerged as key technologies for remote data acquisition, providing fast and accurate methods for water quality monitoring. However, current research on unmanned vehicles has not systematically examined their features and limitations, which are crucial for identifying future research directions and applications of unmanned vehicle technologies. Therefore, this study extensively reviews the advancements in remote data acquisition and processing using unmanned vehicle technologies for water quality monitoring to provide valuable insights for future research. First, the types of unmanned vehicles and their application ranges for water quality monitoring are summarized. Among the unmanned vehicle technologies, unmanned aerial vehicles are considered primary platforms for water quality monitoring due to their wide data acquisition range and their ability to accommodate diverse sensors and samplers. Also, the types of samplers and sensors mounted on the unmanned vehicles are analyzed based on their characteristics. It is concluded that spectral sensors offer the most cost-effective approach for acquiring real-time water quality data. Furthermore, algorithms that convert image data into water quality data are examined, focusing on data preprocessing, analysis, and validation. The findings reveal a close relationship between the analysis of spectral characteristics of each water quality parameter and the wavelength ranges of red and red-edge. Lastly, future research directions for unmanned vehicle technologies are further suggested based on the summarized technological limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140198
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Data acquisition
  • Data processing
  • Remote sensing
  • Unmanned vehicle
  • Water quality monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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