Advanced Machine Learning in Point Spectroscopy, RGB- and Hyperspectral-Imaging for Automatic Discriminations of Crops and Weeds: A Review

Wen-Hao Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Crop productivity is readily reduced by competition from weeds. It is particularly important to control weeds early to prevent yield losses. Limited herbicide choices and increasing costs of weed management are threatening the profitability of crops. Smart agriculture can use intelligent technology to accurately measure the distribution of weeds in the field and perform weed control tasks in selected areas, which cannot only improve the effectiveness of pesticides, but also increase the economic benefits of agricultural products. The most important thing for an automatic system to remove weeds within crop rows is to utilize reliable sensing technology to achieve accurate differentiation of weeds and crops at specific locations in the field. In recent years, there have been many significant achievements involving the differentiation of crops and weeds. These studies are related to the development of rapid and non-destructive sensors, as well as the analysis methods for the data obtained. This paper presents a review of the use of three sensing methods including spectroscopy, color imaging, and hyperspectral imaging in the discrimination of crops and weeds. Several algorithms of machine learning have been employed for data analysis such as convolutional neural network (CNN), artificial neural network (ANN), and support vector machine (SVM). Successful applications include the weed detection in grain crops (such as maize, wheat, and soybean), vegetable crops (such as tomato, lettuce, and radish), and fiber crops (such as cotton) with unsupervised or supervised learning. This review gives a brief introduction into proposed sensing and machine learning methods, then provides an overview of instructive examples of these techniques for weed/crop discrimination. The discussion describes the recent progress made in the development of automated technology for accurate plant identification as well as the challenges and future prospects. It is believed that this review is of great significance to those who study automatic plant care in crops using intelligent technology.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767
Number of pages792
JournalSmart Cities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


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