Kinect v2 sensor-based mobile terrestrial laser scanner for agricultural outdoor applications
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Mobile terrestrial laser scanners (MTLS), based on light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors, are used worldwide in agricultural applications. MTLS are applied to characterize the geometry and the structure of plants and crops for technical and scientific purposes. Although MTLS exhibit outstanding performance, their high cost is still a drawback for most agricultural applications. This paper presents a low-cost alternative to MTLS based on the combination of a Kinect v2 depth sensor and a Real Time Kinematic (RTK) global navigation satellite system (GNSS) with extended color information capability. The theoretical foundations of this system are exposed along with some experimental results illustrating their performance and limitations. This work is focused on open-field agricultural applications, although most conclusions can also be extrapolated to similar outdoor uses. The developed Kinect-based MTLS (K2-MTLS) system allows to select different acquisition frequencies and fields of view (FOV), from one to 512 vertical slices. The authors conclude that the better performance is obtained when a FOV of a single slice is used, but at the price of a very low measuring speed. With that particular configuration, plants, crops, and objects are reproduced accurately. Future efforts will be directed to increase the scanning efficiency by improving both the hardware and software components and to make it feasible using both partial and full FOV.