3D data-augmentation methods for semantic segmentation of tomato plant parts

Bolai Xin*, Ji Sun, Harm Bartholomeus, Gert Kootstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: 3D semantic segmentation of plant point clouds is an important step towards automatic plant phenotyping and crop modeling. Since traditional hand-designed methods for point-cloud processing face challenges in generalisation, current methods are based on deep neural network that learn to perform the 3D segmentation based on training data. However, these methods require a large annotated training set to perform well. Especially for 3D semantic segmentation, the collection of training data is highly labour intensitive and time consuming. Data augmentation has been shown to improve training on small training sets. However, it is unclear which data-augmentation methods are effective for 3D plant-part segmentation. Methods: In the proposed work, five novel data-augmentation methods (global cropping, brightness adjustment, leaf translation, leaf rotation, and leaf crossover) were proposed and compared to five existing methods (online down sampling, global jittering, global scaling, global rotation, and global translation). The methods were applied to PointNet++ for 3D semantic segmentation of the point clouds of three cultivars of tomato plants (Merlice, Brioso, and Gardener Delight). The point clouds were segmented into soil base, stick, stemwork, and other bio-structures. Results and disccusion: Among the data augmentation methods being proposed in this paper, leaf crossover indicated the most promising result which outperformed the existing ones. Leaf rotation (around Z axis), leaf translation, and cropping also performed well on the 3D tomato plant point clouds, which outperformed most of the existing work apart from global jittering. The proposed 3D data augmentation approaches significantly improve the overfitting caused by the limited training data. The improved plant-part segmentation further enables a more accurate reconstruction of the plant architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1045545
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2023


  • data augmentation
  • deep learning
  • point clouds
  • semantic segmentation
  • tomato plants


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