This paper presents activities being carried out at the Department of Aerospace Engineering of the University of Naples “Federico II” and dealing with applications of airborne remote sensing to natural disaster monitoring and of autonomous GNC, from system design to realization and test. Concurrent projects and cooperation with external research teams constitute the scenario of these activities. The reference platform adopted for system implementation and operation is the mini-UAV named 1st. The main focus of this paper is on the integrated, multi-band, hyper-spectral electro-optical sensor that has been studied for applications of forest fire risk management based on compact aeronautical platforms. The system is completed by an onboard computer for operation control and data management, and a radio transceiver for real-time data download and command upload. Additional onboard equipment, such as the GNC subsystem, is relevant to the UAV platform. Activities in progress are discussed in detail: laboratory calibration of the electro-optical sensors in use, development and implementation of algorithms to exploit the collected data for the application of interest, and flight test campaigns. Procedures and results for laboratory calibration and characterization of the electro-optical sensors are described along with the facilities that have been set up to this purpose. In the end, flight test results for both remote sensing and GNC sub-systems are presented, describing also system functionality. Specialized flight campaigns are planned for the future to acquire data over test beds arranged to simulate fire-risk-concerned areas.
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