PhD position: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Mapping of Intercropping Systems

Project Description: 

Remote sensing technologies have been extensively used in agricultural planning and management. Nevertheless, the technologies are not fully capable in various scenarios. In the context of a tropical country like Malaysia, cloud-cover prevents satellite-based optical sensors from capturing viable data in a timely fashion, whereas airborne-based approaches, as on-demand acquisition, can be very costly. Satellite-based radar signals can penetrate cloud cover and haze but till now, the spatial resolution is not good enough. Existing remote sensing applications have been well developed for mono-cropping systems but not yet for intercropping systems. In another development, the UAV platform has recently emerged as a promising low-cost remote sensing platform, which provides cheap image-on-demand and good spatial resolution produced from low-altitude flight.

The aim of this PhD project is to design and develop a low-cost UAV system for intercropping system monitoring and management. The research involves sensor integration and development of image analysis solutions. The target is intercropping practice in Malaysia, where different crops are planted in the space between young oil-palm trees. The candidate needs to have strong computer programming skills, and knowledge or experience with sensor and robotics technologies. Experience in computer vision or image processing is desirable, but not critical.

Level: PhD

Supervisor names and contact details: 

  •  Tuong Thuy Vu, School of Geography, UNMC (
  •  Andrew French, Centre for Plant Integrative Biology, UNUK (
  •  Tomas Maul, School of Computer Science, UNMC (

Further information is here