Location: Aerial Application Technology ResearchTitle: Airborne remote sensing systems for precision agriculture
Submitted to: Smart Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2019
Publication Date: 4/20/2020
Citation: Yang, C. 2020. Airborne remote sensing systems for precision agriculture. Smart Agriculture. 2(1):1-22.
Interpretive Summary: Remote sensing has been used as an important data acquisition tool for precision agriculture for decades. Although imagery from high resolution satellite sensors and unmanned aircraft systems is becoming more available in recent years, manned aircraft still serve as the major remote sensing platform used by researchers and production agricultural business, offering a number of advantages over satellites or unmanned aircraft systems. This article provides an overview of manned aircraft-based airborne imaging systems for precision agriculture, with an emphasis on the use of consumer-grade cameras that can be readily mounted on agricultural aircraft for airborne remote sensing. Application examples are provided to illustrate how different types of remote sensing imagery are used to assess and manage crop growth and control of crop pests. This work provides guidance on the appropriate selection and use of different remote sensing platforms and methods for researchers, crop consultants, aerial applicators, and agricultural dealers in management production agriculture systems.
Technical Abstract: Remote sensing has been used as an important data acquisition tool for precision agriculture for decades. Based on their height above the earth, remote sensing platforms mainly include satellites, manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and ground-based vehicles. A vast majority of sensors carried on these platforms are imaging sensors, though other sensors such as spectroradiometers and Lidars can be mounted. In recent years, advances in satellite imaging sensors have greatly narrowed the gaps in spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions with aircraft-based sensors. More recently, the availability of UAS as a low-cost remote sensing platform has significantly filled the gap between manned aircraft and ground-based platforms. Manned aircraft remain to be a major remote sensing platform and offer some advantages over satellites or UAS. Compared with UAS, manned aircraft have flexible flight height, fast speed, large payload capacity, long flight time, few flight restrictions and great weather tolerance. This article provides an overview of manned aircraft-based airborne imaging systems that have been used for precision agriculture. An emphasis is put on consumer-grade cameras mounted on agricultural aircraft for airborne remote sensing. A number of custom-made and commercial airborne imaging systems are reviewed, including multispectral, hyperspectral and thermal cameras as well as consumer-grade cameras. Application examples are provided to illustrate how different types of remote sensing imagery have been used for crop growth assessment and crop pest management for practical precision agricultural applications. Some challenges and future efforts on the selection and use of different platforms and imaging systems for precision agriculture are discussed.