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Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: Remote sensing platforms and equipment

Author
item Yang, Chenghai

Submitted to: Agricultural Aviation
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/25/2018
Publication Date: 9/1/2018
Citation: Yang, C. 2018. Remote sensing platforms and equipment. Agricultural Aviation. 45(3):30-34.

Interpretive Summary: Over the last two decades, numerous commercial and custom-built airborne and high-resolution satellite imaging systems have been developed and deployed for diverse remote sensing applications. More recently, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have emerged as a versatile and low-cost platform for remote sensing, but UAS’s imaging capabilities are limited by slower speeds, short battery life, a smaller payload, and the FAA’s 400-foot flight ceiling on operations. The safety concerns of commercial pilots, in particular, aerial applicators and other pilots operating in low-level airspace, need to be addressed before the use of UAS for commercial imaging becomes widespread. 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 discussed. This article should provide practitioners useful guidance on the selection of appropriate imaging systems and platforms for practical applications.

Technical Abstract: Over the last two decades, numerous commercial and custom-built airborne and high-resolution satellite imaging systems have been developed and deployed for diverse remote sensing applications. More recently, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have emerged as a versatile and low-cost platform for remote sensing, but UAS’s imaging capabilities are limited by slower speeds, short battery life, a smaller payload, and the FAA’s 400-foot flight ceiling on operations. The safety concerns of commercial pilots, in particular, aerial applicators and other pilots operating in low-level airspace, need to be addressed before the use of UAS for commercial imaging becomes widespread. 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 discussed. This article should provide practitioners useful guidance on the selection of appropriate imaging systems and platforms for practical applications.