UAV-based heating requirement determination for frost management in apple orchard

Wenan Yuan, Daeun Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Frost is a natural disaster that can cause catastrophic damages in agriculture, while traditional temperature monitoring in orchards has disadvantages such as being imprecise and laborious, which can lead to inadequate or wasteful frost protection treatments. In this article, we presented a heating requirement assessment methodology for frost protection in an apple orchard utilizing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based thermal and RGB cameras. A thermal image stitching algorithm using the BRISK feature was developed for creating georeferenced orchard temperature maps, which attained a sub-centimeter map resolution and a stitching speed of 100 thermal images within 30 s. YOLOv4 classifiers for six apple flower bud growth stages in various network sizes were trained based on 5040 RGB images, and the best model achieved a 71.57% mAP for a test dataset consisted of 360 images. A flower bud mapping algorithm was developed to map classifier detection results into dense growth stage maps utilizing RGB image geoinformation. Heating requirement maps were created using artificial flower bud critical temperatures to simulate orchard heating demands during frost events. The results demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed orchard heating requirement determination methodology, which has the potential to be a critical component of an autonomous, precise frost management system in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number273
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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