A Real-time Low-cost Artificial Intelligence System for Autonomous Spraying in Palm Plantations

by   Zhenwang Qin, et al.

In precision crop protection, (target-orientated) object detection in image processing can help navigate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV, crop protection drones) to the right place to apply the pesticide. Unnecessary application of non-target areas could be avoided. Deep learning algorithms dominantly use in modern computer vision tasks which require high computing time, memory footprint, and power consumption. Based on the Edge Artificial Intelligence, we investigate the main three paths that lead to dealing with this problem, including hardware accelerators, efficient algorithms, and model compression. Finally, we integrate them and propose a solution based on a light deep neural network (DNN), called Ag-YOLO, which can make the crop protection UAV have the ability to target detection and autonomous operation. This solution is restricted in size, cost, flexible, fast, and energy-effective. The hardware is only 18 grams in weight and 1.5 watts in energy consumption, and the developed DNN model needs only 838 kilobytes of disc space. We tested the developed hardware and software in comparison to the tiny version of the state-of-art YOLOv3 framework, known as YOLOv3-Tiny to detect individual palm in a plantation. An average F1 score of 0.9205 at the speed of 36.5 frames per second (in comparison to similar accuracy at 18 frames per second and 8.66 megabytes of the YOLOv3-Tiny algorithm) was reached. This developed detection system is easily plugged into any machines already purchased as long as the machines have USB ports and run Linux Operating System.



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