Drone measures plant stress and nutrient
contents with multispectral camera
A partnership between vision-guided unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
company QuestUAV (Amble, Northumberland, UK; www.questuav.
com) and drone sensor and analytics company MicaSense (
Seattle, WA, USA; www.micasense.com) has enabled the acquisition of
multispectral images to monitor the health, stress, and nutrient content of crops.
Together with the MicaSense RedEdge multispectral camera, the
Q- 11 DATAhawk UAV is already being used worldwide in agricultural
and fruit farming applications. The fixed wing drone can cover more
than a square mile in a single flight; providing high-quality multispectral data for crop monitoring and analysis in an automated workflow.
The RedEdge camera captures images in blue, green, red, red
edge, and near-infrared, and its narrowband optical filters provide full
imager resolution for each band. The camera features a global shutter
image sensor for distortion-free results and a capture rate of 1 capture
per second of all bands. The hand-launchable Q-100 DATAhawk is a
rugged UAV that can fly for up to 55 minutes and features multiple
landing options, including automatic and parachute landing, allowing for easy and safe operation in open and confined environments.
QuestUAV’s flight planning software enables users to plan a flight
mission from autonomous take-off through site surveying at specific
height and image overlap until autonomous landing. Images are acquired as soon as the UAV approaches survey height and starts flying
the grid lines. Every second the sensor captures five images (one for
each band) and writes them directly to the drone’s internal SD card.
The ground sampling distance at 400 ft. is 3. 5 in., and geo-coordinates
are directly written to the exchangeable image file format.
Following flight, images can be directly uploaded from the SD card
to MicaSense ATLAS for storage, photogrammetric processing, anal-
ysis, and presentation. Datasets are processed as soon as the upload
is completed, and outputs are available within 24 hours. ATLAS is a
cloud-based solution that enables users to automatically process multi-
spectral data and extract multiple outputs such as orthomosaics, vegeta-
tion index maps (e.g. NDVI and NDRE) and Digital Surface Models
(DSMs). Each layer is reflectance-calibrated and registered at the sub-
pixel level, with the value for each pixel indicative of percent reflec-
tance for that band, providing valuable information on crop health at
all stages of growth, according to QuestUAV.
Once processing is finished, all layers can be viewed in a secure web-
based map interface. Datasets are organized in a ‘Farms and Fields’
structure. Users can create field boundaries online and ATLAS auto-
matically organizes the data into the field boundaries. The map inter-
face allows users to view RGB orthomosaics, and index maps in a multi-
layer stack as well as to scout the field and share information with their
farm management team.
With the map interface of ATLAS, users can view and analyze data
from any online device, enabling farmers and agronomists with the ability to monitor crop status and plant health over time in order to detect
patterns correlated to crop vigor, plant stress and nutrient content.
Vice President of
Dahua Technology. “With this sophisticated
technology from Movidius, we can dramati-
cally improve accuracy when analyzing video
content, which will have a significant impact
on the future of video surveillance.”
Remi El-Ouazzane, Vice President of
Intel New Technology Group and General
Manager of Movidius, also commented.
“The new frontier for AI and machine
learning is being able to deploy these tech-
nologies in real-world products. This means
getting the power demand to a low enough
level to be embedded right into the cameras
themselves,” he said. “The Myriad 2 VPU
delivers a tremendous amount of compute
for deep neural networks while requiring
less than a single watt of power – allowing
Dahua to create some of the smartest prod-
ucts to date.”
Equipped with the Myriad 2 VPU, the
Dahua 2 MP High Definition box camera
will run the latest deep neural networks on
the device itself, which enables new capa-
bilities that include crowd density monitor-
ing, stereoscopic vision, facial recognition,
people counting, behavior analysis, and de-
tection of illegally parked vehicles. For ex-
ample, notes the press release, in the facial
recognition category, a camera equipped
with deep learning technology can detect
gender, age range, and emotion even with
the subject wearing glasses.
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