Optimizing pest detection using sUAS

Our team focuses on new technologies for surveillance and monitoring organisms that threaten plant biosecurity. The future of effective and efficient biosecurity surveillance programs, and pest management in general, will require a higher level of automation and technical sophistication and an increased dependence on affordable technologies. Reliable yet effective sampling efforts are imperative to the future of plant biosecurity and food security in general.

Our team will investigate sensitivities and capacity of emerging unmanned aerial systems (UASs) and imaging technologies for biosecurity surveillance in viticulture, horticultural and grains industries. The overarching aim is to investigate the use of these technologies to support claims of pest freedom and low pest prevalence compared to commonly deployed surveillance practices and utility to inform pest management decisions for established species.

The project focuses on the use of science-centric data (e.g., using pest biology to identify areas most likely to be infested) to inform surveillance decisions (e.g., when and where to deploy a UAS equipped with multi-spectral cameras) made by biosecurity personnel and pest managers. This project also builds and extends upon current (CRC projects 2100, 2014, 2034 & 5055) and previous (CRC50008) projects. The extent to which such technologies (i.e., UASs and hyperspectral images) could improve detection rates and/or surveillance efficiency at the regional, field/orchard or plant level is not known.

This project is funded by the Australian Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (http://www.pbcrc.com.au/research/project/2135).