Zhang is an assistant professor of biological systems engineering at UW–Madison. Her research interests include multi-source remote sensing data fusion (e.g. hyperspectral, LiDAR, RGB), machine learning for high dimensional data analysis, UAV-based imaging platform developments for precision agriculture, crop yield prediction using remote sensing and machine learning, and high-throughput image-based plant phenotyping.
Zhang’s project aims to develop machine-learning tools that can estimate plant traits such as growth, development, yield, and quality in a high-throughput manner using drones equipped with high-resolution cameras with LiDAR (light detection and ranging) capabilities. These drones can help crop-monitoring companies acquire crop height and maturity information to help predict forage yields and quality.