Influence of Image Quality and Light Consistency on the Performance of Convolutional Neural Networks for Weed Mapping Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent computer vision techniques based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are considered state-of-the-art tools in weed mapping. However, their performance has been shown to be sensitive to image quality degradation. Variation in lighting conditions adds another level of complexity to weed mapping. We focus on determining the influence of image quality and light consistency on the performance of CNNs in weed mapping by simulating the image formation pipeline. Faster Region-based CNN (R-CNN) and Mask R-CNN were used as CNN examples for object detection and instance segmentation, respectively, while semantic segmentation was represented by Deeplab-v3. The degradations simulated in this study included resolution reduction, overexposure, Gaussian blur, motion blur, and noise. The results showed that the CNN performance was most impacted by resolution, regardless of plant size. When the training and testing images had the same quality, Faster R-CNN and Mask R-CNN were moderately tolerant to low levels of overexposure, Gaussian blur, motion blur, and noise. Deeplab-v3, on the other hand, tolerated overexposure, motion blur, and noise at all tested levels. In most cases, quality inconsistency between the training and testing images reduced CNN performance. However, CNN models trained on low-quality images were more tolerant against quality inconsistency than those trained by high-quality images. Light inconsistency also reduced CNN performance. Increasing the diversity of lighting conditions in the training images may alleviate the performance reduction but does not provide the same benefit from the number increase of images with the same lighting condition. These results provide insights into the impact of image quality and light consistency on CNN performance. The quality threshold established in this study can be used to guide the selection of camera parameters in future weed mapping applications.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Hu, C., Sapkota, B. B., Thomasson, J. A., & Bagavathiannan, M. V.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Hu, Chengsong||Sapkota, Bishwa B||Thomasson, J Alex||Bagavathiannan, Muthukumar V

publication date

  • January 2021