About Instruments Today No. 220

Agricultural Robots with Intelligent Photonics

The Application of Agricultural Machines and Devices in Smart Agriculture

Chih-Kai Yang, You-Shun Yeh, Yi-Han Wang, Shyang-Jye Chang, Wei-Hao Chen, Li Fang, Chien-Sheng Su, Wei-Chih Lin, Geng-Ruei Wu, Chung-Yu Hsiao, Xian-Min Wang, Yen-Chieh Ouyang, Chao-Cheng Wu, Mang Ou-Yang, Tsang-Sen Liu, Chein-I Chang

In recent years, the Taiwan agricultural sector has faced some considerable challenges; arable land becomes scarce; the rural population is aging; labor is in short supply, global competitions and climate change. Due to restrictions from the natural environment and high production costs, Taiwan’s agricultural industry is less competitive compared with other countries in the world. In order to boost agricultural productivity, the Taiwan government promotes “Smart Agriculture Program”, a new proposed pilot project based on sensor/sensing technology, Intelligence Robot, Internet of Things (IoTs), and Big Data analysis, is expected to build a smart production, marketing, and digital service system to efficiently elevate the whole agricultural productivity and capacity. Furthermore, in order to cope with the problems of labor shortage and aging, Smart Agriculture Program includes the plans and application of agricultural machines and devices, such as assistive robotic exosuit, hyperspectral technology in quality checking, automatic fish sorting and so on.

Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Precision Agriculture

Ming-Der Yang, Yu-Chun Hsu, Hsin-Hung Tseng, Wei-Cheng Tseng

To practice precision agriculture, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) play an important role. UAVs have been developed for various applications, such as military, business and civil demands. Fixed-wing, helicopter and multirotor are three major types of UAVs. UAVs are equipped with multi-sensors, such as thermal, multi-spectral and specific sensors, for precision agriculture applications. This paper introduces the mechanism and demonstration of UAV in precision agriculture applications, especially rice which is the most important food crops in Taiwan. The UAV analysis technology based on image processing technology has been applied to seedling counting for replanting assessment, rice lodging analysis for compensation assessment; and cloud computing platform to integrate the power of crowdsourcing to improve the efficiency of agricultural investigation. This paper also introduces many domestic and international cases using UAVs in  agricultural development, including farm management, chemical spraying, fertilization, and plant rehabilitation. In future, UAVs will play an irreplaceable role in precision agriculture to collect agriculture information.

3D Modeling of Fruit Tree Crowns and Large-scale Tree Scene by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and Unmanned Ground Vehicle

Wei-Tsang Huang, Chun Yu, Yung-Jhe Yan, Ruei-Siang Shih, Yi-Sheng Li, Shiou-Gwo Lin, Tzung-Cheng Chen, Chi Cho Huang, Yi-Chun Chen, Jin-Chern Chiou, Mang Ou-Yang

This article using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) combined with the multi-footed unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to obtain visible and near-infrared images of fruit trees crowns. Using image information for spectral analysis and to build three-dimensional model apply in fruit tree growth monitoring systems. UAV flight is controlled by PID. According to the path planning, the UAV automatically collects the image information of the fruit tree. Through the real-time kinematic (RTK) technology, the positioning error is only up to the cm level. The UAV fly in the air and the multi-foot UGV move in the ground to obtain the multi-angle image. Overlapping multi-view image, stereo vision and mesh segmentation modeling technology to establish a three-dimensional model to achieve the monitoring of fruit tree growth.

The Study of NDVI Unit Using One/Dual Image Modules

Tai-Shan Liao

NDVI image modules are re-used in the popularity of fine for using different plant fingers to measure the amount of vegetation and the amount of raw vegetation, the content of the hormone, the amount of nitrogen in the vegetation crown, etc. It can also be used to estimate the amount of field management, etc. This article describes the development of Taiwan Instrument Research Institute to develop a NDVI unit consisting of dual cameras and single image modules. It can be supported by reference of domestic research units or individual farm operators.

Precise Laser Pest Control

Chia-Ying Chang, Feng-Chun Hsu, Sumesh Nair, Jing-Jie Su, Chun-Yu Lin, Ken-Yuh Hsu, Shean-Jen Chen

In this study, we developed a laser pest control system which combine the key techniques of monocular stereo vision, rapid laser scanning, and intelligent pest recognition for disabling caterpillars. Two caterpillar species of Orgyia Postica and Porthesia Taiwana were considered and their original images were used to train YOLO for identification. Color transform from RGB to HSV was applied to Orgyia Postica, and for Porthesia Taiwana, RGB color space was maintained, to successfully detect the caterpillar's head. The center of the caterpillar's head was positively approximated by using k-means clustering algorithm. These newly identified coordinates were then exposed to automatically controlled laser beam. Preliminary experimental results indicated that the second-instar larvae of Porthesia Taiwana could not further ingest food after 1.2 sec of irradiation under laser parameters with wavelength of 450 nm, power of 1.735 W and spot diameter of 2.5 mm. Therefore, this synergistic laser system seems to be a beneficial and promising approach to effectively control the pest population.

An Image Capturing Array Device and Inspection System for CIGS Thin Film Solar Cells

Chih-Wen Chen, Ming-Fu Chen, Yi-Hao Lin

Photovoltaic conversion efficiency and manufacturing cost are the two most crucial factors for solar cells. Because CIGS thin film has excellent properties such as material saving, flexibility, wide absorption spectrum range and photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 18% or more, it is suitable as an absorber layer of solar cells. There are three scribing procedures during the production processes of CIGS thin-film solar cells, including laser and mechanical scribing which might cause line width and spacing variations, broken and twisted lines as well as insufficient line depth. However, the traditional offline sampling inspection cannot meet the demands for the mass production of solar cells. Therefore, an online image capturing array device and inspection system (an AOI system) has been proposed and developed for the production line of CIGS thin-film solar cells. The AOI system, which equips four sets of image capturing modules and an equal number of high-brightness linear light sources, has performed fast digital scanning and image processing of large-scale solar panels (1200 mm X 600 mm). The inspection duration of one single solar panel must be within 60 seconds, which meets the requirement. The robustness, as well as the accuracy of the AOI system, has alsobeen verified by the practical production lines.