TraitSeeker and UAVs

The NPEC Open Field module consists of one easily transportable vehicle, the TraitSeeker and three UAVs, all equipped with state-of-the-art sensors. All devices can be transported to different field sites to study individual plants in small plots or large fields in their local conditions. Depending on the experimental needs, the devices can be used together or separately.


This self-driving phenotyping platform is built to precisely measure plant performance and development through high resolution imaging. It’s development by CropTraits and Phenokey was customised to NPEC’s desires. The vehicle is optimised for plots of 1.5m wide, with the flexibility to widen the wheel-based up to 2.0m wide and can measure plants up to 1.2m in height in a non-destructive manner. The vehicle makes use of AB-line driving and cruise control for and repeatable measurements. Data capture is automated based on georeferenced plot polygons.

The vehicle is equipped with 2 hyperspectral sensors (VIS-NIR/ SWIR), a 2D LiDAR sensor and a high-resolution RGB line scan sensor. A ceiling of specialised illumination ensures constant optimal light conditions independent of weather conditions. All data is georeferenced for location and inclination through an on-board GPS/ INS unit.

During data processing, sensor fusion – full integration on pixel level of all sensor data – takes place. From the resulting extensive 3D dataset several parameters can be extracted. Examples are individual plant height, plant count, % of groundcover, digital biomass and more. The TraitSeeker is the platform for accurate, non-destructive, repeatable measurements over time in the field.

Data output

Grass – RGB and LIDAR 3D combined data visualisation

Beet data impression FX10 visualisation in PerClass – Mira

Lettuce – 3D LIDAR visualisation of collected data with CloudCompare

Lettuce data impression FX17 hyperspectral data visualisation in PerClass – Mira


Sometimes the bigger picture is better seen from above. With the use of drones a whole new perspective of experimental fields can be created. Whether it is your desire to map certain plant characteristics, shoot a nice picture for the cover of your PhD thesis or make a promotional video, it is possible with our drones.

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

This drone is equipped with a 12 MP 1/2.3” CMOS sensor and can even create 48 MP Super Resolution Photo’s by merging 9 photo’s together. It features Dolly zoom – flying backwards while zooming in – with which a fine special effect in videos can be created. For video resolution 4K, 2.7K or FHD can be chosen.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

The Mavic 2 Pro has an integrated Hasselblad L1D-20c sensor (RGB) and optional a Parrot Sequoia+ sensor. The Hasselblad sensor features a 28mm 20 MP 1” CMOS sensor with adjustable aperture between f/2.8 and f/11. It has a 10-bit Dlog-M color profile and a video resolution of 4K, 2.7K or FHD, also supporting HD.

The Parrot Sequoia+ is specifically developed for use in the agricultural sector. It comprises of a sunshine sensor with GPS, a 16 MP RGB sensor and four 1.2 MP global shutter monochrome sensors in the green, red, red edge and near infrared part of the light spectrum. The processed multispectral images provide insights in the growth and development of your plants. The plant indices NDVI, WDVI, NDRE and CI_red are given and more information can be extracted from the raw data.

The combination of RGB and multispectral sensors will impart insight in plant performance and field conditions through visual interpretation as well as through crop indices and the end-user gets the possibility to download all raw data and processed data to further analyze and process the data themselves.

DJI Matrice 210 RTK V2

This large drone can be equipped with the HiPhen- Airphen multispectral sensor with integrated radiometric thermal sensor (FLIR Tau 2) and with the DJI Zenmuse X5S RGB sensor.

The Airphen contains 6 synchronized global shutter sensors, for which a selection out of 450, 530, 570, 675, 710, 730, 750 and 850nm can be made. The FLIR has a focal length of 19mm and has 640*512 pixels.

The Zenmuse comprises a DJI MFT 15 mm lens with 20.8 MP 4/3”CMOS sensor and an aperture of f/1.7. Choices for video resolution are 4K DCI (17:9), 4K UHD, 2.7K, FHD (16:9) or 5.2K, 4K UHD (2.44:1).

Data output

DJI Mavic 2 – UAV data impression – multispectral data

DJI M210 – UAV data impression – thermal camera