This work is investigating the feasibility of using an image processing technique using a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) camera mounted on a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (sUAV) to collect normal RGB images in predicting cotton yield on small plot. An orthonormal image was generated from multiple images and used to process multiple, segmented plots. A Gaussian blur was used to eliminate the high frequency component of the images, which corresponds to the cotton pixels, and used image subtraction technique to generate high frequency pixel images. The cotton pixels were then separated using k-means cluster with 5 classes. Based on the current work, the calculated percentage cotton area was computed using the generated high frequency image (cotton pixels) divided by the total area of the plot. Preliminary results showed (five flights, 3 altitudes) that cotton cover on multiple pre-selected 227 sq. m. plots produce an average of 8% which translate to approximately 22.3 kgs. of cotton. The yield prediction equation generated from the test site was then use on a separate validation site and produced a prediction error of less than 10%. In summary, the results indicate that a COTS camera with an appropriate image processing technique can produce results that are comparable to expensive sensors.
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Joe Mari J. Maja, Todd Campbell, Joao Camargo Neto, Philip Astillo, "Predicting cotton yield of small field plots in a cotton breeding program using UAV imagery data," Proc. SPIE 9866, Autonomous Air and Ground Sensing Systems for Agricultural Optimization and Phenotyping, 98660C (17 May 2016);