LIGHT-WEIGHT MULTISPECTRAL UAV SENSORS AND THEIR CAPABILITIES FOR PREDICTING GRAIN YIELD AND DETECTING PLANT DISEASES
- FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Institute of Geomatics Engineering, Gründenstrasse 40, 4132 MUTTENZ, Switzerland
Keywords: UAV, multispectral, multi-temporal, agriculture, plant vitality, NDVI, predicting yield
Abstract. In this paper we investigate the performance of new light-weight multispectral sensors for micro UAV and their application to selected tasks in agronomical research and agricultural practice. The investigations are based on a series of flight campaigns in 2014 and 2015 covering a number of agronomical test sites with experiments on rape, barley, onion, potato and other crops. In our sensor comparison we included a high-end multispectral multiSPEC 4C camera with bandpass colour filters and reference channel in zenith direction and a low-cost, consumer-grade Canon S110 NIR camera with Bayer pattern colour filters. Ground-based reference measurements were obtained using a terrestrial hyperspectral field spectrometer. The investigations show that measurements with the high-end system consistently match very well with ground-based field spectrometer measurements with a mean deviation of just 0.01-0.04 NDVI values. The low-cost system, while delivering better spatial resolutions, expressed significant biases. The sensors were subsequently used to address selected agronomical questions. These included crop yield estimation in rape and barley and plant disease detection in potato and onion cultivations. High levels of correlation between different vegetation indices and reference yield measurements were obtained for rape and barley. In case of barley, the NDRE index shows an average correlation of 87% with reference yield, when species are taken into account. With high geometric resolutions and respective GSDs of down to 2.5 cm the effects of a thrips infestation in onion could be analysed and potato blight was successfully detected at an early stage of infestation.