The project will utilise a number of different customised and off-the-shelf UAV (drone) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle platforms to mount a range of photographic, multispectral and hyperspectral cameras/sensors to acquire imagery of sticky fly-traps, that will then be subjected to automated image processing analysis, to identify the presence or absence of Drosophila suzukii (the fruit fly).
There are a number of different types of UAV platforms: multi-rotor, fixed-wing, and more recently a combined multi-rotor/fixed-wing platform known as a VTOL. This type of platform combines the benefits of vertical takeoff and landing with the large area coverage capability and duration of a fixed-wing platform. This project will utilise the multi-rotor platform in order to take advantage of the hover capability of the multi-rotor required to acquire imagery of the fly-traps.
UAV technology has evolved very quickly over the last 5 years and there are now various different makes and types of multi-rotors e.g. DJI, Yuneec, Draganfly / quadcopters (4 rotors), hexacopters (6 rotors) and octacopters (8 rotors). All have various different advantages and characteristics that include the size of the platform, type of battery, flight duration, and payload capability, as well as flight-control units, and features such as autonomous flight.
UAVs are now also becoming platforms that can be flown with minimal training requirements and are described as Read To Fly (RTF) allowing the scenario where end-users e.g. fruit farmers fly their own UAV to acquire data - as and when required - and to use a variety of easy-to-use software tools to generate information that can be used for planning and decision-making. New developments include on-board RTK (Real Time Kinematic) and PPK (Post Processing Kinematic) GPS (Global Positiioning Systems).