The work “Semi-Supervised Online Visual Crop and Weed Classification in Precision Farming Exploiting Plant Arrangement” by Philipp Lottes and Cyrill stachniss, presented at IROS 2017 in Vancouver, becomes IROS 2017 Best Application Paper Finalist.
Abstract – Precision farming robots offer a great potential for reducing the amount of agro-chemicals that is required in the fields through a targeted, per-plant intervention. To achieve this, robots must be able to reliably distinguish crops from weeds on different fields and across growth stages. In this paper, we tackle the problem of separating crops from weeds reliably while requiring only a minimal amount of training data through a semi-supervised approach. We exploit the fact that most crops are planted in rows with a similar spacing along the row, which in turn can be used to initialize a vision-based classifier requiring only minimal user efforts to adapt it to a new field. We implemented our approach using C++ and ROS and thoroughly tested it on real farm robots operating in different countries. The experiments presented in this paper show that with around 1 min of labeling time, we can achieve classification results with an accuracy of more than 95% in real sugar beet fields in Germany and Switzerland.