Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Jane Zhang

Abstract

Orchard fruits and vegetable crops are vulnerable to wild birds and animals. These wild birds and animals can cause critical damage to the produce. Traditional methods of scaring away birds such as scarecrows are not long-term solutions but short-term solutions. This is a huge problem especially near areas like San Luis Obispo where there are vineyards. Bird damage can be as high as 50% for grapes being grown in vineyards. The total estimated revenue lost annually in the 10 counties in California due to bird and rodent damage to 22 selected crops ranged from $168 million to $504 million (in 2009 dollars). A more effective and permanent system needs to be put into place. Monitoring systems in agricultural settings could potentially provide a lot of data for image processing. Most current monitoring systems however don’t focus on image processing but instead really heavily on sensors. Just having sensors for certain systems work, but for birds, monitoring it is not an option because they are not domesticated like pigs, cows etc. in which most these agricultural monitoring systems work on. Birds can fly in and out of the area whereas domesticated animals can be confined to certain physical regions. The most crucial step in a smart scarecrow system would be how a threat would v be detected. Image processing methods can be effectively applied to detecting items in video footage. This paper will focus on bird detection and will analyze motion detection with image subtraction, bird detection with template matching, and bird detection with the Viola-Jones Algorithm. Of the methods considered, bird detection with the Viola-Jones Algorithm had the highest accuracy (87%) with a somewhat low false positive rate. This image processing step would ideally be incorporated with hardware (such as a microcontroller or FPGA, sensors, a camera etc.) to form a smart scarecrow system.