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Ground based hyperspectral imaging for extensive mango yield estimation

Gutiérrez, Salvador, Wendel, Alexander, Underwood, James
Computers and electronics in agriculture 2019 v.157 pp. 126-135
color, cultivars, disease detection, farmers, fruit maturity, fruit yield, fruits, hyperspectral imagery, lighting, mangoes, models, orchards, precision agriculture, prediction, trees
Fruit yield estimation in orchard blocks is an important objective in the context of precision agriculture, as it makes it easier for the farmer to plan ahead and efficiently use resources. Nevertheless, its implementation is labour-intensive and involves the manual counting of the fruit present in the trees. While colour (RGB) has been widely shown to be successful and arguably sufficient for yield estimation in orchards, hyperspectral imaging (HSI) shows promise for more nuanced tasks such as disease detection, cultivar classification and fruit maturity estimation. Therefore, it is important to ask how appropriate is HSI for the task of yield estimation, with a view to performing all of these tasks with just one sensor. This paper presents a novel mango yield estimation pipeline using ground based line-scan HSI acquired from an unmanned ground vehicle. Hyperspectral images were collected on a commercial mango orchard block in December 2017 and pre-processed for illumination compensation. After tree delimitation and mango pixel identification, an optimisation process was carried out to obtain the best models for fruit counting, using mango counts obtained by manually counting the fruit on-tree, and using state-of-the-art RGB techniques for yield estimation. Models were validated and tested on hundreds of trees, and subsequently mapped. In testing, determination coefficients reached values of up to 0.75 against field counts (predicting 18 trees) and 0.83 against RGB mango counts (predicting 216 trees). These results suggest that line-scan HSI can be used to accurately estimate yield in orchards, especially in scenarios in which this technology is already chosen for the determination of other traits.