Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section

A special issue of Drones (ISSN 2504-446X). This special issue belongs to the section "Drones in Agriculture and Forestry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2024) | Viewed by 27607

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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As Section Editor-in-Chief, I am pleased to announce a Special Issue entitled “Feature Papers for Section Drones in Agriculture and Forestry”. This Special Issue welcomes high-quality papers from the latest research and application results related to the use of drones in agriculture and forestry. Manuscripts can be theoretical, applied, or review articles. Interdisciplinary manuscripts are particularly welcome. For more scope information, you may check https://www.mdpi.com/journal/drones/sections/drones_in_agriculture_forestry

Prof. Dr. Yangquan Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Drones is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

16 pages, 21867 KiB  
Article
Artemisia Frigida Distribution Mapping in Grassland with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery and Deep Learning
by Yongcai Wang, Huawei Wan, Zhuowei Hu, Jixi Gao, Chenxi Sun and Bin Yang
Drones 2024, 8(4), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8040151 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 743
Abstract
Artemisia frigida, as an important indicator species of grassland degradation, holds significant guidance significance for understanding grassland degradation status and conducting grassland restoration. Therefore, conducting rapid surveys and monitoring it is crucial. In this study, to address the issue of insufficient identification [...] Read more.
Artemisia frigida, as an important indicator species of grassland degradation, holds significant guidance significance for understanding grassland degradation status and conducting grassland restoration. Therefore, conducting rapid surveys and monitoring it is crucial. In this study, to address the issue of insufficient identification accuracy due to the large density and small size of Artemisia frigida in UAV images, we improved the YOLOv7 object detection algorithm to enhance the performance of the YOLOv7 model in Artemisia frigida detection. We applied the improved model to the detection of Artemisia frigida across the entire experimental area, achieving spatial mapping of Artemisia frigida distribution. The results indicate: In comparison across different models, the improved YOLOv7 + Biformer + wise-iou model exhibited the most notable enhancement in precision metrics compared to the original YOLOv7, showing a 6% increase. The mean average precision at intersection over union (IoU) threshold of 0.5 (mAP@.5) also increased by 3%. In terms of inference speed, it ranked second among the four models, only trailing behind YOLOv7 + biformer. The YOLOv7 + biformer + wise-iou model achieved an overall detection precision of 96% and a recall of 94% across 10 plots. The model demonstrated superior overall detection performance. The enhanced YOLOv7 exhibited superior performance in Artemisia frigida detection, meeting the need for rapid mapping of Artemisia frigida distribution based on UAV images. This improvement is expected to contribute to enhancing the efficiency of UAV-based surveys and monitoring of grassland degradation. These findings emphasize the effectiveness of the improved YOLOv7 + Biformer + wise-iou model in enhancing precision metrics, overall detection performance, and its applicability to efficiently map the distribution of Artemisia frigida in UAV imagery for grassland degradation surveys and monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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21 pages, 7888 KiB  
Article
Toward Virtual Testing of Unmanned Aerial Spraying Systems Operating in Vineyards
by Manuel Carreño Ruiz, Nicoletta Bloise, Giorgio Guglieri and Domenic D’Ambrosio
Drones 2024, 8(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8030098 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1113
Abstract
In recent times, the objective of reducing the environmental impact of the agricultural industry has led to the mechanization of the sector. One of the consequences of this is the everyday increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for different tasks in agriculture, [...] Read more.
In recent times, the objective of reducing the environmental impact of the agricultural industry has led to the mechanization of the sector. One of the consequences of this is the everyday increasing use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for different tasks in agriculture, such as spraying operations, mapping, or diagnostics, among others. Aerial spraying presents an inherent problem associated with the drift of small droplets caused by their entrainment in vortical structures such as tip vortices produced at the tip of rotors and wings. This problem is aggravated by other dynamic physical phenomena associated with the actual spray operation, such as liquid sloshing in the tank, GPS inaccuracies, wind gusts, and autopilot corrections, among others. This work focuses on analyzing the impact of nozzle position and liquid sloshing on droplet deposition through numerical modeling. To achieve this, the paper presents a novel six degrees of freedom numerical model of a DJI Matrice 600 equipped with a spray system. The spray is modeled using Lagrangian particles and the liquid sloshing is modeled with an interface-capturing method known as Volume of Fluid (VOF) approach. The model is tested in a spraying operation at a constant velocity of 2 m/s in a virtual vineyard. The maneuver is achieved using a PID controller that drives the angular rates of the rotors. This spraying mission simulator was used to obtain insights into optimal nozzle selection and positioning by quantifying the amount of droplet deposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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14 pages, 12683 KiB  
Article
The Detection of Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) Using Drones and Optical Sensors: Implications for the Management of Invasive Plants and Insects
by Kushal Naharki, Cynthia D. Huebner and Yong-Lak Park
Drones 2024, 8(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones8010001 - 19 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2189
Abstract
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is a highly invasive tree species in the USA and the preferred host of an invasive insect, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). Currently, pest managers rely solely on ground surveys for detecting both A. [...] Read more.
Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is a highly invasive tree species in the USA and the preferred host of an invasive insect, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). Currently, pest managers rely solely on ground surveys for detecting both A. altissima and spotted lanternflies. This study aimed to develop efficient tools for A. altissima detection using drones equipped with optical sensors. Aerial surveys were conducted to determine the optimal season, sensor type, and flight altitudes for A. altissima detection. The results revealed that A. altissima can be detected during different seasons and at specific flight heights. Male inflorescences were identifiable using an RGB sensor in the spring at <40 m, seed clusters were identifiable in summer and fall at <25 m using an RGB sensor, and remnant seed clusters were identifiable in the winter at <20 m using RGB and thermal sensors. Combining all seasonal data allowed for the identification of both male and female A. altissima. This study suggests that employing drones with optical sensors can provide a near real-time and efficient method for A. altissima detection. Such a tool has the potential to aid in the development of effective strategies for monitoring spotted lanternflies and managing A. altissima. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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20 pages, 7697 KiB  
Article
Integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Imagery and Machine Learning Technology to Map the Distribution of Conifer and Broadleaf Canopy Cover in Uneven-Aged Mixed Forests
by Nyo Me Htun, Toshiaki Owari, Satoshi Tsuyuki and Takuya Hiroshima
Drones 2023, 7(12), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7120705 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 2164
Abstract
Uneven-aged mixed forests have been recognized as important contributors to biodiversity conservation, ecological stability, carbon sequestration, the provisioning of ecosystem services, and sustainable timber production. Recently, numerous studies have demonstrated the applicability of integrating remote sensing datasets with machine learning for forest management [...] Read more.
Uneven-aged mixed forests have been recognized as important contributors to biodiversity conservation, ecological stability, carbon sequestration, the provisioning of ecosystem services, and sustainable timber production. Recently, numerous studies have demonstrated the applicability of integrating remote sensing datasets with machine learning for forest management purposes, such as forest type classification and the identification of individual trees. However, studies focusing on the integration of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) datasets with machine learning for mapping of tree species groups in uneven-aged mixed forests remain limited. Thus, this study explored the feasibility of integrating UAV imagery with semantic segmentation-based machine learning classification algorithms to describe conifer and broadleaf species canopies in uneven-aged mixed forests. The study was conducted in two sub-compartments of the University of Tokyo Hokkaido Forest in northern Japan. We analyzed UAV images using the semantic-segmentation based U-Net and random forest (RF) classification models. The results indicate that the integration of UAV imagery with the U-Net model generated reliable conifer and broadleaf canopy cover classification maps in both sub-compartments, while the RF model often failed to distinguish conifer crowns. Moreover, our findings demonstrate the potential of this method to detect dominant tree species groups in uneven-aged mixed forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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23 pages, 20315 KiB  
Article
Crown Width Extraction of Metasequoia glyptostroboides Using Improved YOLOv7 Based on UAV Images
by Chen Dong, Chongyuan Cai, Sheng Chen, Hao Xu, Laibang Yang, Jingyong Ji, Siqi Huang, I-Kuai Hung, Yuhui Weng and Xiongwei Lou
Drones 2023, 7(6), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7060336 - 23 May 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1409
Abstract
With the progress of computer vision and the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), UAVs have been widely used in forest resource investigation and tree feature extraction. In the field of crown width measurement, the use of traditional manual measurement methods is time-consuming [...] Read more.
With the progress of computer vision and the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), UAVs have been widely used in forest resource investigation and tree feature extraction. In the field of crown width measurement, the use of traditional manual measurement methods is time-consuming and costly and affects factors such as terrain and weather. Although the crown width extraction method based on the segmentation of UAV images that have recently risen in popularity extracts a large amount of information, it consumes long amounts of time for dataset establishment and segmentation. This paper proposes an improved YOLOv7 model designed to precisely extract the crown width of Metasequoia glyptostroboides. This species is distinguished by its well-developed terminal buds and distinct central trunk morphology. Taking the M. glyptostroboides forest in the Qingshan Lake National Forest Park in Lin’an District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China, as the target sample plot, YOLOv7 was improved using the simple, parameter-free attention model (SimAM) attention and SIoU modules. The SimAM attention module was experimentally proved capable of reducing the attention to other irrelevant information in the training process and improving the model’s accuracy. The SIoU module can improve the tightness between the detection frame and the edge of the target crown during the detection process and effectively enhance the accuracy of crown width measurement. The experimental results reveal that the improved model achieves 94.34% mAP@0.5 in the task of crown detection, which is 5% higher than that achieved by the original model. In crown width measurement, the R2 of the improved model reaches 0.837, which is 0.151 higher than that of the original model, thus verifying the effectiveness of the improved algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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20 pages, 7215 KiB  
Article
Study on the Differences between the Extraction Results of the Structural Parameters of Individual Trees for Different Tree Species Based on UAV LiDAR and High-Resolution RGB Images
by Haotian You, Xu Tang, Qixu You, Yao Liu, Jianjun Chen and Feng Wang
Drones 2023, 7(5), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7050317 - 10 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1274
Abstract
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) points and high-resolution RGB image-derived points have been successfully used to extract tree structural parameters. However, the differences in extracting individual tree structural parameters among different tree species have not been systematically studied. In this study, LiDAR data [...] Read more.
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) points and high-resolution RGB image-derived points have been successfully used to extract tree structural parameters. However, the differences in extracting individual tree structural parameters among different tree species have not been systematically studied. In this study, LiDAR data and images were collected using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to explore the differences in digital elevation model (DEM) and digital surface models (DSM) generation and tree structural parameter extraction for different tree species. It was found that the DEMs generated based on both forms of data, LiDAR and image, exhibited high correlations with the field-measured elevation, with an R2 of 0.97 and 0.95, and an RMSE of 0.24 and 0.28 m, respectively. In addition, the differences between the DSMs are small in non-vegetation areas, whereas the differences are relatively large in vegetation areas. The extraction results of individual tree crown width and height based on two kinds of data are similar when all tree species are considered. However, for different tree species, the Cinnamomum camphora exhibits the greatest accuracy in terms of crown width extraction, with an R2 of 0.94 and 0.90, and an RMSE of 0.77 and 0.70 m for LiDAR and image points, respectively. In comparison, for tree height extraction, the Magnolia grandiflora exhibits the highest accuracy, with an R2 of 0.89 and 0.90, and an RMSE of 0.57 and 0.55 m for LiDAR and image points, respectively. The results indicate that both LiDAR and image points can generate an accurate DEM and DSM. The differences in the DEMs and DSMs between the two data types are relatively large in vegetation areas, while they are small in non-vegetation areas. There are significant differences in the extraction results of tree height and crown width between the two data sets among different tree species. The results will provide technical guidance for low-cost forest resource investigation and monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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12 pages, 3666 KiB  
Article
Exterminator for the Nests of Vespa velutina nigrithorax Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
by Chun-Gu Lee and Seung-Hwa Yu
Drones 2023, 7(4), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7040281 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1905
Abstract
Vespa velutina nigrithorax, a species of hornet, is spreading globally, with increasingly negative effects on human health. To effectively eliminate V. velutina, its nest should be destroyed and its queen removed; however, the nests are difficult to reach. Thus, we analyzed the [...] Read more.
Vespa velutina nigrithorax, a species of hornet, is spreading globally, with increasingly negative effects on human health. To effectively eliminate V. velutina, its nest should be destroyed and its queen removed; however, the nests are difficult to reach. Thus, we analyzed the requirements for a drone-assisted hornet exterminator using field observations and physical tests on a sample hornets’ nest, and based on these, a UAV exterminator equipped with a nest-perforating device (based on an airsoft rifle) and pesticide-spraying system was designed and manufactured. Pesticides and bullets were manufactured using ecofriendly materials. An actuator at the rear of the device adjusted the pitch of the perforator and sprayer, and a monitoring system was installed to aid the operator in targeting. The operating parameters of the UAV exterminator were evaluated in laboratory tests, with a spray distance of 5 m deemed suitable. To evaluate the system’s pest-control performance, several V. velutina nests were targeted in field tests. An insecticidal effect of over 99% was achieved using two pyrethrum-based pesticides (15% pyrethrum extract and 10% pyrethrum extract with additives). In addition, compared to conventional nest-removal methods, the UAV exterminator reduced the work time by 85% and the cost by 54.9%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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15 pages, 4414 KiB  
Article
Radiometric Correction of Multispectral Field Images Captured under Changing Ambient Light Conditions and Applications in Crop Monitoring
by Beibei Xue, Bo Ming, Jiangfeng Xin, Hongye Yang, Shang Gao, Huirong Guo, Dayun Feng, Chenwei Nie, Keru Wang and Shaokun Li
Drones 2023, 7(4), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7040223 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2531
Abstract
Applications of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spectral systems in precision agriculture require raw image data to be converted to reflectance to produce time-consistent, atmosphere-independent images. Complex light environments, such as those caused by varying weather conditions, affect the accuracy of reflectance conversion. An [...] Read more.
Applications of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) spectral systems in precision agriculture require raw image data to be converted to reflectance to produce time-consistent, atmosphere-independent images. Complex light environments, such as those caused by varying weather conditions, affect the accuracy of reflectance conversion. An experiment was conducted here to compare the accuracy of several target radiance correction methods, namely pre-calibration reference panel (pre-CRP), downwelling light sensor (DLS), and a novel method, real-time reflectance calibration reference panel (real-time CRP), in monitoring crop reflectance under variable weather conditions. Real-time CRP used simultaneous acquisition of target and CRP images and immediate correction of each image. These methods were validated with manually collected maize indictors. The results showed that real-time CRP had more robust stability and accuracy than DLS and pre-CRP under various conditions. Validation with maize data showed that the correlation between aboveground biomass and vegetation indices had the least variation under different light conditions (correlation all around 0.74), whereas leaf area index (correlation from 0.89 in sunny conditions to 0.82 in cloudy days) and canopy chlorophyll content (correlation from 0.74 in sunny conditions to 0.67 in cloudy days) had higher variation. The values of vegetation indices TVI and EVI varied little, and the model slopes of NDVI, OSAVI, MSR, RVI, NDRE, and CI with manually measured maize indicators were essentially constant under different weather conditions. These results serve as a reference for the application of UAV remote sensing technology in precision agriculture and accurate acquisition of crop phenotype data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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12 pages, 3897 KiB  
Article
Parameter Optimization and Impacts on Oilseed Rape (Brassica napus) Seeds Aerial Seeding Based on Unmanned Agricultural Aerial System
by Songchao Zhang, Meng Huang, Chen Cai, Hua Sun, Xiaohui Cheng, Jian Fu, Qingsong Xing and Xinyu Xue
Drones 2022, 6(10), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6100303 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1414
Abstract
Aerial seeding based on the unmanned agricultural aerial system (UAAS) improves the seeding efficiency of oilseed rape (OSR) seeds, and solves the problem of OSR planting in mountainous areas where it is inconvenient to use ground seeding machines. Therefore, the UAAS has been [...] Read more.
Aerial seeding based on the unmanned agricultural aerial system (UAAS) improves the seeding efficiency of oilseed rape (OSR) seeds, and solves the problem of OSR planting in mountainous areas where it is inconvenient to use ground seeding machines. Therefore, the UAAS has been applied in aerial seeding to a certain degree in China. The effective broadcast seeding width (EBSW), broadcast seeding density (BSD) and broadcast seeding uniformity (BSU) are the important indexes that affect the aerial seeding efficiency and quality of OSR seeds. In order to investigate the effects of flight speed (FS) and flight height (FH) on EBSW, BSD and BSU, and to achieve the optimized parameter combinations of UAAS T30 on aerial seeding application, three levels of FS (4.0 m/s, 5.0 m/s and 6.0 m/s) and three levels of FH (2.0 m, 3.0 m and 4.0 m) experiments were carried out in the field with 6.0 kg seeds per ha. The results demonstrated that the EBSW was not constant as the FS and FH changed. In general, the EBSW showed a change trend of first increasing and then decreasing as the FH increased under the same FS, and showed a trend of decreasing as FS increased under the same FH. The EBSWs were over 3.0 m in the nine treatments, in which the maximum was 5.44 m (T1, 4.0 m/s, 2.0 m) while the minimum was 3.2 m (T9, 6.0 m/s, 4.0 m). The BSD showed a negative change correlation as the FS changed under the same FH, and the BSD decreased as the FH increased under 4.0 m/s FS, while it first increased and then decreased under the FS of 5.0 m/s and 6.0 m/s. The maximum BSD value was 140.12 seeds/m2 (T1, 4.0 m/s, 2.0 m), while the minimum was 40.17 seeds/m2 (T9, 6.0 m/s, 4.0 m). There was no obvious change in the trend of the BSU evaluated by the coefficients of variation (CV): the minimum CV was 13.01% (T6, 6.0 m/s, 3.0 m) and the maximum was 64.48% (T3, 6.0 m/s, 2.0 m). The statistical analyses showed that the FH had significant impacts on the EBSWs (0.01 < p-value < 0.05), the FS and the interaction between FH and FS both had extremely significant impacts on EBSWs (p-value < 0.01). The FH had extremely significant impacts on BSD (p-value < 0.01), the FS had no impacts on BSD (p-value > 0.05), and the interaction between FH and FS had significant impacts on BSD (0.01 < p-value < 0.05). There were no significant differences in the broadcast sowing uniformity (BSU) among the treatments. Taking the EBSW, BSD and BSU into consideration, the parameter combination of T5 (T9, 5.0 m/s, 3.0 m) was selected for aerial seeding. The OSR seed germination rate was over 36 plants/m2 (33 days) on average, which satisfied the requirements of OSR planting agronomy. This study provided some technical support for UAAS application in aerial seeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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21 pages, 17600 KiB  
Article
Autonomous UAS-Based Agriculture Applications: General Overview and Relevant European Case Studies
by Mariann Merz, Dário Pedro, Vasileios Skliros, Carl Bergenhem, Mikko Himanka, Torbjørn Houge, João P. Matos-Carvalho, Henrik Lundkvist, Baran Cürüklü, Rasmus Hamrén, Afshin E. Ameri, Carl Ahlberg and Gorm Johansen
Drones 2022, 6(5), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6050128 - 17 May 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5729
Abstract
Emerging precision agriculture techniques rely on the frequent collection of high-quality data which can be acquired efficiently by unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The main obstacle for wider adoption of this technology is related to UAS operational costs. The path forward requires a high [...] Read more.
Emerging precision agriculture techniques rely on the frequent collection of high-quality data which can be acquired efficiently by unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The main obstacle for wider adoption of this technology is related to UAS operational costs. The path forward requires a high degree of autonomy and integration of the UAS and other cyber physical systems on the farm into a common Farm Management System (FMS) to facilitate the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for decision support. Such a solution has been implemented in the EU project AFarCloud (Aggregated Farming in the Cloud). The regulation of UAS operations is another important factor that impacts the adoption rate of agricultural UAS. An analysis of the new European UAS regulations relevant for autonomous operation is included. Autonomous UAS operation through the AFarCloud FMS solution has been demonstrated at several test farms in multiple European countries. Novel applications have been developed, such as the retrieval of data from remote field sensors using UAS and in situ measurements using dedicated UAS payloads designed for physical contact with the environment. The main findings include that (1) autonomous UAS operation in the agricultural sector is feasible once the regulations allow this; (2) the UAS should be integrated with the FMS and include autonomous data processing and charging functionality to offer a practical solution; and (3) several applications beyond just asset monitoring are relevant for the UAS and will help to justify the cost of this equipment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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Review

Jump to: Research

26 pages, 7493 KiB  
Review
BVLOS Unmanned Aircraft Operations in Forest Environments
by Robin John ap Lewis Hartley, Isaac Levi Henderson and Chris Lewis Jackson
Drones 2022, 6(7), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6070167 - 4 Jul 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5329 | Correction
Abstract
This article presents a review about Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations using unmanned aircraft in forest environments. Forest environments present unique challenges for unmanned aircraft operations due to the presence of trees as obstacles, hilly terrain, and remote areas. BVLOS operations [...] Read more.
This article presents a review about Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations using unmanned aircraft in forest environments. Forest environments present unique challenges for unmanned aircraft operations due to the presence of trees as obstacles, hilly terrain, and remote areas. BVLOS operations help overcome some of these unique challenges; however, these are not widespread due to a number of technical, operational, and regulatory considerations. To help progress the application of BVLOS unmanned aircraft operations in forest environments, this article reviews the latest literature, practices, and regulations, as well as incorporates the practical experience of the authors. The unique characteristics of the operating environment are addressed alongside a clear argument as to how BVLOS operations can help overcome key challenges. The international regulatory environment is appraised with regard to BVLOS operations, highlighting differences between countries, despite commonalities in the considerations that they take into account. After addressing these points, technological, operational, and other considerations are presented and may be taken into account when taking a risk-based approach to BVLOS operations, with gaps for future research to address clearly highlighted. In totality, this article provides a practical understanding of how BVLOS unmanned aircraft operations can be done in forest environments, as well as provides a basis for future research into the topic area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers for Drones in Agriculture and Forestry Section)
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