In agricultural remote sensing, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms offer many advantages over conventional satellite and full-scale airborne platforms. One of the most important advantages is their ability to capture high spatial resolution images (1–10 cm) on-demand and at different viewing angles. However, UAV platforms typically rely on the use of multiple cameras, which can be costly and difficult to operate. We present the development of a simple low-cost imaging system for remote sensing of crop health and demonstrate it on lettuce (Lactuca sativa) grown in Hong Kong. To identify the optimal vegetation index, we recorded images of both healthy and unhealthy lettuce, and used them as input in an expectation maximization cluster analysis with a Gaussian mixture model. Results from unsupervised and supervised clustering show that, among four widely used vegetation indices, the blue wide-dynamic range vegetation index is the most accurate. This study shows that it is readily possible to design and build a remote sensing system capable of determining the health status of lettuce at a reasonably low cost (). When combined with recent advances in UAV technology, this system could lead to yield increases for lettuce growers.
David D. W. Ren,
Larry K. B. Li,
"Low-cost multispectral imaging for remote sensing of lettuce health," Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 11(1), 016006 (11 January 2017). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JRS.11.016006
. Submission: Received: 8 September 2016; Accepted: 13 December 2016
Received: 8 September 2016; Accepted: 13 December 2016; Published: 11 January 2017