Could drones minimize manual labor and help optimizing the production of Christmas trees? This was the question posed by the Danish Christmas tree industry to Robocluster, who started a research project in cooperation with SDU UAS Center.
The project investigates how to value Christmas tree productions by using drones to measure the height of the trees and count the number of trees in a given plantation.
The researchers from SDU uses a multi rotor drone to overfly selected Christmas tree plantations and collect photos of the different growth stages. From these photos they develop a method to count the trees and estimate their height. Wind and weather are big challenges to this project, explains Henrik Skov Midtiby from the UAS Center, since wind, for instance, can tilt the trees and interfere with the measurements of height.
The project is conducted in cooperation with Talmo, who works with metric 3D reconstructions in forest environments. When the method has been developed, it will be validated in cooperation with another partner, the Gren Team Group. The final goal is to get the Danish Christmas tree industry to use the method.
The researchers hope that the Christmas tree industry in future can conduct a more precise valuation and get a better overview of their production.
Furthermore, it might be possible in future to use drones to estimate how close the trees are standing and do measurements of the quality of the trees.
Talmo, Gren Team Group, Robocluster, and SDU
1. January, 2020 - 31. December 2020
Henrik Skov Midtiby, SDU UAS Center