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Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: Aerial imaging with manned aircraft for precision agriculture

Author
item Yang, Chenghai

Submitted to: Resource Engineering and Technology for a Sustainable World
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2016
Publication Date: 7/15/2016
Citation: Yang, C. 2016. Aerial imaging with manned aircraft for precision agriculture. Resource Engineering and Technology for a Sustainable World. Jul/Aug 2016. 3 pp. http://www.resourcemagonline.com.

Interpretive Summary: Over the last two decades, numerous commercial and custom-built airborne imaging systems have been developed and deployed for diverse remote sensing applications, including precision agriculture. More recently, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have emerged as a versatile and cost-effective platform for airborne remote sensing. However, the safety concerns of commercial pilots and, in particular, aerial applicators and other pilots operating in low-level airspace need to be addressed before the widespread use of UAS for commercial applications. This article provides a brief overview of a suite of manned aircraft-based multispectral, hyperspectral and thermal imaging systems for monitoring crop conditions, detecting crop pests, and assessing the performance of precision ground and aerial applications. Consumer-grade cameras and image processing techniques are also briefly discussed. This article should provide practitioners useful guidance on the selection of appropriate imaging systems and platforms (i.e., UAS, manned-aircraft and satellites) for practical precision agriculture applications.

Technical Abstract: Over the last two decades, numerous commercial and custom-built airborne imaging systems have been developed and deployed for diverse remote sensing applications, including precision agriculture. More recently, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have emerged as a versatile and cost-effective platform for airborne remote sensing. These systems fill a gap in spatial resolution in remote sensing between ground-based and manned aircraft-based platforms. However, the safety concerns of commercial pilots and, in particular, aerial applicators and other pilots operating in low-level airspace need to be addressed before the widespread use of UAS for commercial applications. Meanwhile, conventional manned aircraft, including thousands of agricultural aircraft in the U.S., provide a readily available and versatile platform for airborne remote sensing. This article provides a brief overview of a suite of manned aircraft-based multispectral, hyperspectral and thermal imaging systems for monitoring crop conditions, detecting crop pests, and assessing the performance of precision ground and aerial applications. Consumer-grade cameras and image processing techniques are also briefly discussed. This article should provide practitioners useful guidance on the selection of appropriate imaging systems and platforms (i.e., UAS, manned-aircraft and satellites) for practical precision agriculture applications.