Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2014) September 14-18, 2014, Chicago, IL, USA. Pages: 4805 - 4812, DOI: 10.1109/IROS.2014.6943245


Copyright © 2014 IEEE. Used by permission.


Remote sensing by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is changing the way agriculture operates by increasing the spatial-temporal resolution of data collection. Micro-UAVs have the potential to further improve and enrich the data collected by operating close to the crops, enabling the collection of higher spatio-temporal resolution data. In this paper, we present a UAV-mounted measurement system that utilizes a laser scanner to compute crop heights, a critical indicator of crop health. The system filters, transforms, and analyzes the cluttered range data in real-time to determine the distance to the ground and to the top of the crops. We assess the system in an indoor testbed and in a corn field. Our findings indicate that despite the dense canopy and highly variable sensor readings, we can precisely fly over crops and measure its height to within 5cm of measurements gathered using current measurement technology.