Low Cost Scientific Data Drones for Enhanced Melon Productivity and Security (UC Merced)

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smart melon droneThe SmartMelonDrone project will use low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to help manage both the quantity and quality of melon produce. The platform, capable of multispectral imaging, together with image post-analysis software, will support field management, including nitrogen stress detection, water stress detection, pest monitoring, yield estimation, small animal activities, etc. Firstly, real-time imagery with high spatial resolution (centimeters) can be acquired for growing melon by RGB, near infrared (NIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) cameras. Based on this analysis tool, information about nitrogen stress, water stress, and status of crop, weed, insect and disease can be extracted for optimized fertilizer, irrigation, precision application of insecticide, fungicide and herbicide, respectively. Meanwhile, grazing animals are also monitored to prevent introducing pathogenic bacteria into the soil. In addition, pre-harvest and harvest yield estimations will be determined for production decisions.

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