Radiological Engineering and Health Physics Services
UAV Gamma Surveys
Gamma Surveys in Challanging and Unsafe Environments
Most radiation surveys are performed using GPS-based detector systems mounted on backpacks on technicians, pushcarts, or vehicles. Helicopters and fixed wing planes have been used for very large areas but are expensive and may present accessibility issues. Ground-based surveys often result in unsafe conditions for ground crews.
To overcome these obstacles, ERG now utilizes aerial platforms for performing surveys in limited and inaccessible areas. The development of the drone-based survey capability was developed primarily for use in mapping radiation levels in challenging environments, including extremely rough terrain, other unsafe environments for ground personnel, or in sensitive areas where soil and vegetation disturbance may be an issue. These include areas within and around abandoned uranium mines, culturally sensitive areas, national laboratories, military installations, and other sites.
Fully Licensed and Insured
ERG pilots are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate drones for commercial purposes and maintain all required FCC licenses for long-range radio transmissions. Each pilot is also highly qualified in health physics allowing data to be interpreted in the field. In addition, ERG holds a liability insurance specific to unmanned aircraft operations allowing work to be performed for most contractors and sites.
UAV Ground control software allows the planning and implementation of the survey path for the UAV to follow at a defined altitude and speed. Radiological data are transmitted and displayed in real-time on the map allowing personnel to bound and characterize areas of concern.

Utilizing UAVs for gamma surveys allows areas to be surveyed that are otherwise difficult or impossible using a ground approach. These conditions include:
  • Dense vegetation
  • Inaccessible areas
  • Steep or unsafe terrain
  • UXO areas
  • Unknown radiological conditions
Why Us?
ERG has thrived on bringing innovative solutions to environmental problems. In 1994, ERG developed the capability to perform vehicle-mounted GPS-based radiological surveys, allowing ERG to cost-effectively survey thousands of acres around uranium mills and mines as well as other nuclear facilities in support of site decommissioning projects. Our experience with GPS-based gamma surveys allows us to easily transition to UAV surveys where necessary.

ERG also maintains one of the largest radiological equipment inventory and every employee is highly trained on the operation and data interpretation of each instrument. The large inventory and trained personnel allows flexibility with UAV instrumentation to meet the needs of every project. In addition, our engineering team is skilled in design and software which allows us to grow and adapt as necessary.