Detection of Artificial Seed-like Objects from UAV Imagery

Yanuar A. Bomantara, Hasib Mustafa*, Harm Bartholomeus, Lammert Kooistra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the last two decades, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology has been widely utilized as an aerial survey method. Recently, a unique system of self-deployable and biodegradable microrobots akin to winged achene seeds was introduced to monitor environmental parameters in the air above the soil interface, which requires geo-localization. This research focuses on detecting these artificial seed-like objects from UAV RGB images in real-time scenarios, employing the object detection algorithm YOLO (You Only Look Once). Three environmental parameters, namely, daylight condition, background type, and flying altitude, were investigated to encompass varying data acquisition situations and their influence on detection accuracy. Artificial seeds were detected using four variants of the YOLO version 5 (YOLOv5) algorithm, which were compared in terms of accuracy and speed. The most accurate model variant was used in combination with slice-aided hyper inference (SAHI) on full resolution images to evaluate the model’s performance. It was found that the YOLOv5n variant had the highest accuracy and fastest inference speed. After model training, the best conditions for detecting artificial seed-like objects were found at a flight altitude of 4 m, on an overcast day, and against a concrete background, obtaining accuracies of 0.91, 0.90, and 0.99, respectively. YOLOv5n outperformed the other models by achieving a mAP0.5 score of 84.6% on the validation set and 83.2% on the test set. This study can be used as a baseline for detecting seed-like objects under the tested conditions in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1637
Number of pages22
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2023


  • background type
  • deep learning
  • flying height
  • light conditions
  • object detection
  • unmanned aerial vehicles


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