Quantitative Rating System for Imagery Acquired with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Wirsching, Elizabeth
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly used for acquiring aerial images due to their flexibility, low operational cost, and perceived ease of use in comparison to manned aircrafts. However, UAVs can be subjected to relatively higher instability leading to more pitch-roll-yaw and drift problems than manned aircrafts. Hence images acquired from the UAVs could suffer from distortion which will limit their use. Currently, there is a lack of studies that have systematically evaluated how these distortions affect the usefulness and interpretability of the images. This project will focus on quantifying the utility of aerial images acquired in different illumination conditions and camera look angles. A Phantom DJ II aircraft was flown in the UW Williams Conservatory and images of six plants were acquired under three different illumination conditions and three camera look angles. These images were then rated using the modified version of the US Air Force and USDA National Image Interpretability Rating Scales (NIIRS) systems. Results from this study will provide insights about the utility of UAV and the images acquired under different conditions, along with the time and training involved in learning to fly the UAV in a variety of conditions and difficult environments.
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