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Open AccessArticle

Optical Sensing to Determine Tomato Plant Spacing for Precise Agrochemical Application: Two Scenarios

Aerospace Engineering and Fluid Mechanics Department, University of Seville, 41013 Seville, Spain
Laboratorio de Propiedades Físicas (LPF_TAGRALIA), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), 28040 Madrid, Spain
Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dimitrios Moshou
Sensors 2017, 17(5), 1096;
Received: 31 March 2017 / Revised: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 8 May 2017 / Published: 11 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors in Agriculture)
The feasibility of automated individual crop plant care in vegetable crop fields has increased, resulting in improved efficiency and economic benefits. A systems-based approach is a key feature in the engineering design of mechanization that incorporates precision sensing techniques. The objective of this study was to design new sensing capabilities to measure crop plant spacing under different test conditions (California, USA and Andalucía, Spain). For this study, three different types of optical sensors were used: an optical light-beam sensor (880 nm), a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor (905 nm), and an RGB camera. Field trials were conducted on newly transplanted tomato plants, using an encoder as a local reference system. Test results achieved a 98% accuracy in detection using light-beam sensors while a 96% accuracy on plant detections was achieved in the best of replications using LiDAR. These results can contribute to the decision-making regarding the use of these sensors by machinery manufacturers. This could lead to an advance in the physical or chemical weed control on row crops, allowing significant reductions or even elimination of hand-weeding tasks. View Full-Text
Keywords: LiDAR; light-beam; plant localization; Kinect LiDAR; light-beam; plant localization; Kinect
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Martínez-Guanter, J.; Garrido-Izard, M.; Valero, C.; Slaughter, D.C.; Pérez-Ruiz, M. Optical Sensing to Determine Tomato Plant Spacing for Precise Agrochemical Application: Two Scenarios. Sensors 2017, 17, 1096.

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