Estimating Canopy Parameters Based on the Stem Position in Apple Trees Using a 2D LiDAR
Data of canopy morphology are crucial for cultivation tasks within orchards. In this study, a 2D light detection and range (LiDAR) laser scanner system was mounted on a tractor, tested on a box with known dimensions (1.81 m × 0.6 m × 0.6 m), and applied in an apple orchard to obtain the 3D structural parameters of the trees (n = 224). The analysis of a metal box which considered the height of four sides resulted in a mean absolute error (MAE) of 8.18 mm with a bias (MBE) of 2.75 mm,
... .75 mm, representing a root mean square error (RMSE) of 1.63% due to gaps in the point cloud and increased incident angle with enhanced distance between laser aperture and the object. A methodology based on a bivariate point density histogram is proposed to estimate the stem position of each tree. The cylindrical boundary was projected around the estimated stem positions to segment each individual tree. Subsequently, height, stem diameter, and volume of the segmented tree point clouds were estimated and compared with manual measurements. The estimated stem position of each tree was defined using a real time kinematic global navigation satellite system, (RTK-GNSS) resulting in an MAE and MBE of 33.7 mm and 36.5 mm, respectively. The coefficient of determination (R2) considering manual measurements and estimated data from the segmented point clouds appeared high with, respectively, R2 and RMSE of 0.87 and 5.71% for height, 0.88 and 2.23% for stem diameter, as well as 0.77 and 4.64% for canopy volume. Since a certain error for the height and volume measured manually can be assumed, the LiDAR approach provides an alternative to manual readings with the advantage of getting tree individual data of the entire orchard.