Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) are a very promising branch of technology, and they have been utilized in agriculture—in cooperation with image processing technologies—for phenotyping and vigor diagnosis. One of the problems in the utilization of UAVs for agricultural purposes is the limitation in flight time. It is necessary to fly at a high altitude to capture the maximum number of plants in the limited time available, but this reduces the spatial resolution of the captured images. In this study, we applied a super-resolution method to the low-resolution images of tomato diseases to recover detailed appearances, such as lesions on plant organs. We also conducted disease classification using high-resolution, low-resolution, and super-resolution images to evaluate the effectiveness of super-resolution methods in disease classification. Our results indicated that the super-resolution method outperformed conventional image scaling methods in spatial resolution enhancement of tomato disease images. The results of disease classification showed that the accuracy attained was also better by a large margin with super-resolution images than with low-resolution images. These results indicated that our approach not only recovered the information lost in low-resolution images, but also exerted a beneficial influence on further image analysis. The proposed approach will accelerate image-based phenotyping and vigor diagnosis in the field, because it not only saves time to capture images of a crop in a cultivation field but also secures the accuracy of these images for further analysis.
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