In many forests, the collection of information pertaining to the wood remains neglected, due to a shortage of specially trained personnel, specific expertise, funding, or appropriate technology. A project funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) aims to put small, unmanned helicopters to work, measuring the parameters for the forest inventory.
In forest inventory, it is currently not possible to measure the shape of the tree trunk and the existence or thickness of the branches in an efficient manner. This makes it difficult to access the quality of the wood.
The project’s lead scientist, Stephan Weiss (Department of Smart System-Technologies), proposes the deployment of small, unmanned helicopters. “By applying automatic image processing and path-planning, as well as 3D reconstruction, the UAVs can autonomously fly under the tree canopy and derive the forest parameters from the 3D data,” says Weiss. The research team is working to develop an airworthy prototype.
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