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Smart Agriculture ›› 2021, Vol. 3 ›› Issue (1): 75-85.doi: 10.12133/j.smartag.2021.3.1.202102-SA001

• Topic--Frontier Technology and Application of Agricultural Phenotype • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Tassel Segmentation of Maize Point Cloud Based on Super Voxels Clustering and Local Features

ZHU Chao1,2(), WU Fan1,2, LIU Changbin3, ZHAO Jianxiang1,2, LIN Lili1,2, TIAN Xueying1,2, MIAO Teng1,2()   

  1. 1.College of Information and Electrical Engineering, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang 110866, China
    2.Liaoning Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture, Shenyang 110866, China
    3.Beijing PAIDE Science and Technology Development Company Limited, Beijing 100097, China
  • Received:2021-02-01 Revised:2021-02-23 Online:2021-03-30


Accurate and high-throughput maize plant phenotyping is vital for crop breeding and cultivation research. Tassel-related phenotypic parameters are important agronomic traits. However, fully automatic and fine tassel organ segmentation of maize shoots from three-dimensional (3D) point clouds is still challenging. To address this issue, a tassel point cloud segmentation method based on point cloud super voxels clustering and local geometric features was proposed in this study. Firstly, the undirected graph of the maize plant point cloud was established, the edge weights were calculated by using the difference of normal vectors, and the spectral clustering method was used to cluster the point cloud to form multiple super voxel sub-regions. Then, the principal component analysis method was used to find the two end regions of the plant and based on the observation of the straight direction of the bottom stem regions, the top and bottom regions were distinguished by the point cloud linear features. Finally, the tassel points were identified based on the plane local features of the point cloud. The sub-regions of the top region of the plant were classified into leaf regions, tassel regions, and mixed regions by plane local features of the point cloud, the tassel points in the tassel sub-region, and the mixed region were the finally segmented tassel point clouds. In this study, 15 mature maize plants with 3 point cloud densities were tested. Compared with the ground truth segmented manually, the average F1 scores of the tassel segmentation were 0.763, 0.875 and 0.889 when the point cloud density was 0.8/cm, 1.3/cm, and 1.9/cm, respectively. The segmentation accuracy of this method increased with the increase of plant point cloud density. The increase of point cloud density and the number of point clouds mainly affected the calculation results of point cloud plane features in tassel segmentation. When the number of point clouds was small, the top leaf point cloud was relatively sparse. Therefore, the difference between the plane feature of the leaf point and the plane feature of the tassel point was not obvious, which led to the increase of the misclassification of the point cloud. However, the time complexity of the algorithm was O(n3), so the increase in the density and number of point clouds would lead to a significant increase in the running time. Considering the segmentation accuracy and running time, the research obtained the best effect on the mature maize plants with a point cloud density of 1.3/cm and an average number of 15,000. The segmentation F1 score reached 0.875 and the running time was 6.85 s. The results showed that this method could extract tassels from maize plant point cloud, and provided technical support for the research and application of high-throughput phenotyping and three-dimensional reconstruction of maize.

Key words: maize tassel, 3D point cloud segmentation, phenotyping, super voxels clustering, local features, principal component analysis

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