ForestTECH to feature UAV advancements

Wednesday 4 Sep 2019

Every year, at our FIEA ForestTECH conference series, we host over 250 of you - from resource managers, remote sensing, GIS and mapping specialists, to inventory foresters and technology providers from throughout Australasia and now Asia and North America. The series is now in its 12th year and the technologies are accelerating as fast as ever. It's also a real networking opportunity - lots of real people with the same interests all in one room - advancing our industry.

In a recent issue of Friday Offcuts, we outlined how one of the presenters at the November conference series, US company, DroneSeed, are employing swarms of UAV’s (or drones) to automate tree planting and spraying operations for a number of major North American forest management companies. A number of other significant technology advances have been made over the last 12 months with an array of new UAV platforms, data collection capabilities and operational applications.

New technology, Hovermap, is now allowing collision avoidance for drones, advanced autonomy and SLAM-based LiDAR mapping in challenging GPS-denied environments.

Work is also currently underway in both Australia and New Zealand to develop autonomous, unmanned aerial systems for mapping the forest from beneath the canopy. The purpose here is to develop a system to provide a mapping solution for areas of dense undergrowth and dense canopy, where ground-based methods are difficult or hazardous and above canopy methods struggle to penetrate to the stems.

These presentations along with recent work on beyond visual line of sight for UAV’s, using machine learning for tree counting and tree detection from UAV collected data and recent operational trials to evaluate post planting seedling survival with UAV’s form part of the ForestTECH 2019 series this year.

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