Method and apparatus for target plant foliage sensing and mapping and related materials application control
patent number 4823268
An electronic orchard tree measuring system based on ultrasonic range transducers may be used to determine the amount and vertical distribution of sensed load centroids in vertical sectors of orchard trees. The ultrasonic transducers may be operated independently of any processor or memory which receives their distance data outputs. Displacement sensing of the apparatus relative a row of target trees may instead be used to select ultrasonic distance data at predetermined incremental distances of travel relative the trees being sensed. Thus, the most recent value of sensed data is always available as input to the processor or memory, without requiring any timing circuitry between such sensing and control circuits. The detection data may be stored in memory for subsequent processing to create a map of foliar volumes of the sensed target trees. Alternatively, the spatial characteristics of the sensed amount and vertical distribution of load centroids for a given vertical segment of target trees may be further compared spatially with determined application patterns of controllable spray nozzles to configure subsequent activation of such nozzles for optimal material application to the given vertical segment of the sensed target trees.
Clemson University (Clemson, SC)