Traditionally, sensing technologies in citrus production, where growers are looking for pests and diseases and are field phenotyping, rely on manual sampling. This method is both time consuming and labor intensive. Since availability of trained personnel is a major problem as well, small unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with various sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) can simplify the surveying procedure, decrease data collection time and reduce cost.
UAVs equipped with RGB and multispectral sensors have recently become flexible and cost-effective solutions for rapid, precise and non-destructive field scouting. Growers are typically reluctant to adopt new technologies. However, demonstrated ease of use and cost savings can encourage widespread adoption.
Precise and early detection of pests and diseases can reduce spray costs, scouting labor costs and possible fruit losses caused by pests and diseases. However, the extent to which this is offset by the increased cost of specialized labor or consultants needed to operate UAVs and interpret information needs to be carefully examined by each operation.
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