Submitted to: International Symposium on Precision Agriculture
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2008
Publication Date: 7/21/2008
Citation: Huang, Y., Lan, Y., Hoffmann, W.C., Fritz, B.K. 2008. Development of an unmanned aerial vehicle-based remote sensing system for site-specific management in precision agriculture. Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Precision Agriculture, Denver, CO. Interpretive Summary: The acquisition of aerial images of crops is becoming more common as producers seek to optimize production by managing specific areas within a field. This work focused on using a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which was a 6 foot long helicopter in this project, to acquire images of a crop that could be used to detect the presence of weeds, water stress, or other aspects of a crop that can be remotely detected. After selecting the proper cameras that could be carried by the helicopter, the authors describe the software controls that must be downloaded to the helicopter so that the helicopter flies to the desired spot over the field and at the desired height. The use of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to acquire aerial images of crops should increase the speed of acquiring aerial images and reduce the costs of these images compared to satellite or larger aircraft generated images.
Technical Abstract: An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems. In agriculture, UAVs have been used for pest control and remote sensing. The objective of this research was to develop a UAV system to enhance aerial data acquisition, and processing of high spatial and temporal resolution images. The development included the control of a camera on the UAV to establish a new remote sensing platform. The camera was triggered by the UAVs Global Positioning System through the communication between the helicopter’s Automatic Flight Control System and the ground control station via a wireless telemetry system. The development of the UAV system with an aerial camera has a great potential to identify pest issues effectively over small crop plots or spots within a large crop field to help realize highly accurate site-specific pest management.