Olsen, Alex, Konovalov, Dmitry A., Philippa, Bronson, Ridd, Peter, Wood, Jake C., Johns, Jamie, Banks, Wesley, Girgenti, Benjamin, Kenny, Owen, Whinney, James, Calvert, Brendan, Azghadi, Mostafa Rahimi, White, Ronald D.
Robotic weed control has seen increased research in the past decade with its potential for boosting productivity in agriculture. Majority of works focus on developing robotics for arable croplands, ignoring the significant weed management problems facing rangeland stock farmers. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to widespread uptake of robotic weed control is the robust detection of weed species in their natural environment. The unparalleled successes of deep learning make it an ideal candidate for recognising various weed species in the highly complex Australian rangeland environment. This work contributes the first large, public, multiclass image dataset of weed species from the Australian rangelands; allowing for the development of robust detection methods to make robotic weed control viable. The DeepWeeds dataset consists of 17,509 labelled images of eight nationally significant weed species native to eight locations across northern Australia. This paper also presents a baseline for classification performance on the dataset using the benchmark deep learning models, Inception-v3 and ResNet-50. These models achieved an average classification performance of 87.9% and 90.5%, respectively. This strong result bodes well for future field implementation of robotic weed control methods in the Australian rangelands.