8 May 2017 Scaling up high throughput field phenotyping of corn and soy research plots using ground rovers
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Abstract
Crop improvement programs require large and meticulous selection processes that effectively and accurately collect and analyze data to generate quality plant products as efficiently as possible, develop superior cropping and/or crop improvement methods. Typically, data collection for such testing is performed by field teams using hand-held instruments or manually-controlled devices. Although steps are taken to reduce error, the data collected in such manner can be unreliable due to human error and fatigue, which reduces the ability to make accurate selection decisions. Monsanto engineering teams have developed a high-clearance mobile platform (Rover) as a step towards high throughput and high accuracy phenotyping at an industrial scale. The rovers are equipped with GPS navigation, multiple cameras and sensors and on-board computers to acquire data and compute plant vigor metrics per plot. The supporting IT systems enable automatic path planning, plot identification, image and point cloud data QA/QC and near real-time analysis where results are streamed to enterprise databases for additional statistical analysis and product advancement decisions. Since the rover program was launched in North America in 2013, the number of research plots we can analyze in a growing season has expanded dramatically. This work describes some of the successes and challenges in scaling up of the rover platform for automated phenotyping to enable science at scale.
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Boyan Peshlov, Akash Nakarmi, Steven Baldwin, Scott Essner, Jasenka French, "Scaling up high throughput field phenotyping of corn and soy research plots using ground rovers", Proc. SPIE 10218, Autonomous Air and Ground Sensing Systems for Agricultural Optimization and Phenotyping II, 1021802 (8 May 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2262713; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262713
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