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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Autonomous Vehicle Development and Image Georeferencing Systems for Multispectral Imaging of Crop Fields

Location: Crop Production Systems Research Unit

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop a stable autonomous aerial vehicle system with capabilities to run multispectral and thermal imaging systems for imaging large crop fields; improve systems used to georeference imagery and provide automatic triggering of multispectral and other imaging cameras.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
A platform for unmanned aerial image acquisition will be developed, evaluated, and improved. The proposed system is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with capabilities of fail-safe landing and autonomous flight. The system will have unique mechanical features that allow stable flight under variable wind conditions and allow easy access and exchange of payloads. This system and will be evaluated with the Tetracam multispectral cameras and other-branded thermal imaging cameras. Automatic camera triggering has limitations with regard to accuracy and speed of image acquisition. This has been especially problematic at ground speeds encountered when using agricultural aircraft for image acquisition. This proposal includes development of new camera activation algorithms to meet speed requirements of both UAVs and agricultural aircraft.


3.Progress Report

Firmware and hardware for the multispectral camera triggering system have been improved to allow faster camera response to a desired triggering location as defined by global positioning. This system is being implemented on a Parafoil unmanned aerial vehicle and will be tested on a faster agricultural aircraft platform. ADODR used site visit, email and telephone conferences to monitor activities of the project.


Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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