Centre for Forest Value PhD Candidate Sean Krisanski testing out his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or “drone” which will make it possible to collect forest canopy samples more safely, at a lower cost and at a much larger scale than existing canopy sample
Original Published Date: 
Thursday, June 4, 2020

An innovative drone project by University of Tasmania PhD Candidate Sean Krisanski, who is based at the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Forest Value, has received an additional funding boost from a Federal Government science and innovation award.

Mr Krisanski’s PhD research has focused on the development of an autonomous unmanned aerial system for under-canopy mapping of forests, as well as extracting measurements from these maps using deep-learning techniques.

“So far the feedback on the project has been very positive. Workplace health and safety has been a common concern among forest workers where dense undergrowth and rough terrain can pose a trip/slip/fall hazard,” says Mr Krisanski.

“By using under-canopy UAVs as an alternative to manual field measurement techniques, we can help avoid such issues by simply flying over them. If a forest is severely infested with, for example, blackberry or similar dense and impenetrable undergrowth, measurement may simply be avoided in that area altogether. This is where such a system might eventually serve as a useful tool in the forest researcher’s/worker’s tool kit.”

Mr Krisanski said that the new award, from the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, will support the technology to enable the collection of a large number of tree canopy samples. It will also fund the development of a drone that can place a sensor module in the canopy of a tree as well as retrieve it.

“There are a few existing drone-based canopy sample collection solutions. However, I am hoping to create a simpler and lower cost solution. I would also like to make the plans available to the public at the end of the project so that it can assist other scientists who need canopy samples.”

“Some example applications of the drones might involve placing a wildlife monitoring camera near a nest, or placing microphones for bioacoustics research," says Mr Krisanski.

To find out more about Sean's award-winning research click here.

Photo credit: 

Centre for Forest Value PhD Candidate Sean Krisanski testing out his Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or “drone” which will make it possible to collect forest canopy samples more safely, at a lower cost and at a much larger scale than existing canopy sample collection techniques. Credit: UTAS.