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Ranging Sensors for Vehicle-Based Measurement of Crop Stand and Orchard Parameters: A Review

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 54(4): 1497-1510. (doi: 10.13031/2013.39013) @2011
Authors:   V. Dworak, J. Selbeck, D. Ehlert
Keywords:   Crop parameters, Infield measurements, LiDAR, Orchard parameters, Radar, Ultrasonic

In agricultural crop production, information important for optimizing production processes (precision farming) and reducing the environmental impact can be obtained from soils and plants with sensors. Ranging sensors are utilized in research activities that use remote-sensing techniques. In this work, three types of ranging sensors or measuring principles (light detection and ranging (LiDAR), radar, and ultrasonic) are evaluated for practical use with agricultural machinery to improve production processes. In the first part of this article, the fundamentals of the prescribed measuring principles are described. Based on the relevant literature, state-of-the-art sensor groups for measuring morphologic crop stand and orchard parameters are presented and discussed in the second section. In the third section, the sensors are assessed regarding their suitability for installation on agricultural machinery under field conditions; specifically, their functional parameters are evaluated (e.g., working distance, mounting height, inclination angle, resolution, and measurement frequency) along with experimental data obtained in scientific investigations. The positive test results in the application of the measuring principles presented in previous publications are reviewed and, based on a summary assessment, the LiDAR measuring principle is indicated as the preferred solution for vehicle-based measurement of crop stand and orchard parameters.

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