Toward Automated Machine Learning-Based Hyperspectral Image Analysis in Crop Yield and Biomass Estimation

Kai-Yun Li, Raul Sampaio de Lima, Niall Burnside, Ele Vahtmae, Tiit Kutser, Karli Sepp, Victor Henrique Cabral Pinheiro, Ming-Der Yang, Ants Vain, Kalev Sepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The incorporation of autonomous computation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into smart agriculture concepts is becoming an expected scientific procedure. The airborne hyperspectral system with its vast area coverage, high spectral resolution, and varied narrow-band selection is an excellent tool for crop physiological characteristics and yield prediction. However, the extensive
and redundant three-dimensional (3D) cube data processing and computation have made the popularization of this tool a challenging task. This research integrated two important open-sourced systems (R and Python) combined with automated hyperspectral narrowband vegetation index calculation and the state-of-the-art AI-based automated machine learning (AutoML) technology to estimate yield and biomass, based on three crop categories (spring wheat, pea and oat mixture, and spring barley with red clover) with multifunctional cultivation practices in northern Europe and Estonia. Our study showed the estimated capacity of the empirical AutoML regression model was significant. The best coefficient of determination (R2) and normalized root mean square error (NRMSE) for single variety planting wheat were 0.96 and 0.12 respectively; for mixed peas and oats, they were 0.76 and 0.18 in the booting to heading stage, while for mixed legumes and spring barley, they were 0.88 and 0.16 in
the reproductive growth stages. In terms of straw mass estimation, R2 was 0.96, 0.83, and 0.86, and NRMSE was 0.12, 0.24, and 0.33 respectively. This research contributes to, and confirms, the use of the AutoML framework in hyperspectral image analysis to increase implementation flexibility and reduce learning costs under a variety of agricultural resource conditions. It delivers expert yield and
straw mass valuation two months in advance before harvest time for decision-makers. This study also highlights that the hyperspectral system provides economic and environmental benefits and will play a critical role in the construction of sustainable and intelligent agriculture techniques in the
upcoming years.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1114
Number of pages26
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2022


  • hyperspectral
  • automated machine learning
  • vegetation index
  • yield estimations
  • biomass estimations
  • precision agriculture
  • narrowband
  • spring wheat
  • spring barley
  • pea and oat


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