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A comparison of manual and automated detection of rusa deer (Rusa timorensis) from RPAS-derived thermal imagery

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Sudholz, A., Denman, S., Pople, A. R., Brennan, M., Amos, M. and Hamilton, G. (2021) A comparison of manual and automated detection of rusa deer (Rusa timorensis) from RPAS-derived thermal imagery. Wildlife Research, 49 (1). pp. 46-53.

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/WR20169

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/WR20169


Context: Monitoring is an essential part of managing invasive species; however, accurate, cost-effective detection techniques are necessary for it to be routinely undertaken. Current detection techniques for invasive deer are time consuming, expensive and have associated biases, which may be overcome by exploiting new technologies.Aims: We assessed the accuracy and cost effectiveness of automated detection methods in comparison to manual detection of thermal footage of deer captured by remotely piloted aircraft systems.Methods: Thermal footage captured by RPAS was assessed using an algorithm combining two object-detection techniques, namely, YOLO and Faster-RCNN. The number of deer found using manual review on each sampling day was compared with the number of deer found on each day using machine learning. Detection rates were compared across survey areas and sampling occasions.Key results: Overall, there was no difference in the mean number of deer detected using manual and that detected by automated review (P = 0.057). The automated-detection algorithm identified between 66.7% and 100% of deer detected using manual review of thermal imagery on all but one of the sampling days. There was no difference in the mean proportion of deer detected using either manual or automated review at three repeated sampling events (P = 0.174). However, identifying deer using the automated review algorithm was 84% cheaper than the cost of manual review. Low cloud cover appeared to affect detectability using the automated review algorithm.Conclusions: Automated methods provide a fast and effective way to detect deer. For maximum effectiveness, imagery that encompasses a range of environments should be used as part of the training dataset, as well as large groups for herding species. Adequate sensing conditions are essential to gain accurate counts of deer by automated detection.Implications: Machine learning in combination with RPAS may decrease the cost and improve the detection and monitoring of invasive species.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:remotely piloted aircraft systems, unpiloted aerial vehicles, RPAS, UAV, automated detection, machine learning, drone, deer, rusa, invasive species, pest species. Agtech Agritech
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Inventions
Live Archive:23 Sep 2021 00:59
Last Modified:06 Jul 2022 05:38

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