The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle as a remote sensing platform in agriculture

Jensen, T. A. and Zeller, L. C. and Apan, A. A. (2011) The use of an unmanned aerial vehicle as a remote sensing platform in agriculture. Australian Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Engineering, 8 (2). pp. 139-146. ISSN 1448-8388

Abstract

One of the limitations of using hobbyist remotely controlled aircraft with an attached digital camera is that a great number of images look alike and unless a large number of natural features or artificial targets are present at the location, it is hard to identify and orientate the images. This paper investigates the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for use in agricultural applications. Trials were conducted, in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation and Queensland University of Technology, on the ability of a UAV autopilot to accurately trigger a two-camera sensor when at a desired location. The study area was located at Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield, near Toogoolawah (152.460°, –27.098°) in southeast Queensland, Australia. The airfield has dedicated areas for use of remotely controlled aircraft, with the mission being undertaken on 5 March 2008. The target and waypoints were arranged so that the UAV flew in an anticlockwise flight pattern. Three separate missions were flown with images being acquired when over target on each of the nine passes. Although capturing the target in the image was achieved on every flight, the accuracy of capturing the target in the middle of the image was variable. The offset from the centre of the image to the target (zero in the perfect system) ranged from just under 15% to just over 60% of the image extent. The misalignment was due to a combination of the predetermined offset value, cross-wind, global position system/autopilot error, the UAV not being level when the image was acquired, and/or inaccuracies in positioning the sensors in the hinged pod. The capacity to accurately acquire images over pre-determined points is essential to ensure coverage and to expedite mosaicing of the images. It will also expand the application of these technologies into the broader-scale applications, such as imaging in broadacre cereal cropping or imaging along transects.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy. © The Institution of Engineers Australia, 2011.
Depositing User: Dr Armando Apan
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2012 12:18
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 01:07
Uncontrolled Keywords: remote sensing; drone aircraft; agricultural equipment; automatic pilot; aerial photogrammetry
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 09 Engineering > 0913 Mechanical Engineering > 091303 Autonomous Vehicles
09 Engineering > 0909 Geomatic Engineering > 090905 Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
09 Engineering > 0901 Aerospace Engineering > 090104 Aircraft Performance and Flight Control Systems
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/20958

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