Efficient automated U-Net based tree crown delineation using UAV multi-spectral imagery on embedded devices

Kostas Blekos, Stavros Nousias, Aris S Lalos

Delineation approaches provide significant benefits to various domains, including agriculture, environmental and natural disasters monitoring. Most of the work in the literature utilize traditional segmentation methods that require a large amount of computational and storage resources. Deep learning has transformed computer vision and dramatically improved machine translation, though it requires massive dataset for training and significant resources for inference. More importantly, energy-efficient embedded vision hardware delivering real-time and robust performance is crucial in the aforementioned application. In this work, we propose a U-Net based tree delineation method, which is effectively trained using multi-spectral imagery but can then delineate single-spectrum images. The deep architecture that also performs localization, i.e., a class label corresponds to each pixel, has been successfully used to allow training with a small set of segmented images. The ground truth data were generated using traditional image denoising and segmentation approaches. To be able to execute the proposed DNN efficiently in embedded platforms designed for deep learning approaches, we employ traditional model compression and acceleration methods. Extensive evaluation studies using data collected from UAVs equipped with multi-spectral cameras demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed methods in terms of delineation accuracy and execution efficiency.

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