Unsupervised Classification Algorithm for Early Weed Detection in Row-Crops by Combining Spatial and Spectral Information

Abstract : In agriculture, reducing herbicide use is a challenge to reduce health and environmental risks while maintaining production yield and quality. Site-specific weed management is a promising way to reach this objective but requires efficient weed detection methods. In this paper, an automatic image processing has been developed to discriminate between crop and weed pixels combining spatial and spectral information extracted from four-band multispectral images. Image data was captured at 3 m above ground, with a camera (multiSPEC 4C, AIRINOV, Paris) mounted on a pole kept manually. For each image, the field of view was approximately 4 m × 3 m and the resolution was 6 mm/pix. The row crop arrangement was first used to discriminate between some crop and weed pixels depending on their location inside or outside of crop rows. Then, these pixels were used to automatically build the training dataset concerning the multispectral features of crop and weed pixel classes. For each image, a specific training dataset was used by a supervised classifier (Support Vector Machine) to classify pixels that cannot be correctly discriminated using only the initial spatial approach. Finally, inter-row pixels were classified as weed and in-row pixels were classified as crop or weed depending on their spectral characteristics. The method was assessed on 14 images captured on maize and sugar beet fields. The contribution of the spatial, spectral and combined information was studied with respect to the classification quality. Our results show the better ability of the spatial and spectral combination algorithm to detect weeds between and within crop rows. They demonstrate the improvement of the weed detection rate and the improvement of its robustness. On all images, the mean value of the weed detection rate was 89% for spatial and spectral combination method, 79% for spatial method, and 75% for spectral method. Moreover, our work shows that the plant in-line sowing can be used to design an automatic image processing and classification algorithm to detect weed without requiring any manual data selection and labelling. Since the method required crop row identification, the method is suitable for wide-row crops and high spatial resolution images (at least 6 mm/pix).
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 5:00:27 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 4:57:21 PM

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Marine Louargant, Gawain Jones, Romain Faroux, Jean-Noël Paoli, Thibault Maillot, et al.. Unsupervised Classification Algorithm for Early Weed Detection in Row-Crops by Combining Spatial and Spectral Information. Remote Sensing, MDPI, 2018, 10 (5), ⟨10.3390/rs10050761⟩. ⟨hal-01802760⟩

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