Farmers are using artificial intelligence to help grow food by combatting disease and pests, oftentimes made worse by climate change, pesticide use, and monocropping.
Drones and other robots equipped with computer vision collect data points from the farms’ exisiting crops.
Through machine learning, farmers can monitor crops’ nutrient levels, while also sheltering them from unpredictable and possibly damaging elements.
Despite the promise of AI in agriculture, the high cost of this technology isn’t a realistic solution for many local, small-scale farmers.
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In Leones, Argentina, a drone with a special camera flies low over 150 acres of wheat. It’s able to check each stalk, one-by-one, spotting the beginnings of a fungal infection that could potentially threaten this year’s crop.
The flying robot is powered by computer vision: a kind of artificial intelligence being developed by start-ups around the world, and deployed by farmers looking for solutions that will help them grow food on an increasingly unpredictable planet.
Many food producers are struggling to manage threats to their crop like disease and pests, made worse by climate change, monocropping, and widespread pesticide use.
Catching things early is key.
Taranis, a company that works with farms on four continents, flies high-definition cameras above fields to provides “the eyes.”
Machine learning — a kind of artificial intelligence that’s trained on huge data sets and then learns on its own — is the “brains.”
“I think that today, to increase yields in our lots, it’s essential to have a technology that allows us to take decisions immediately,” said Ernesto Agüero, the producer on San Francisco Farm in Argentina.
The algorithm teaches itself to flag something as small as an individual insect, long before humans would usually identify the problem.
AI’s ability to identify sea lice could save fisheries hundreds of millions of dollars
Similar technology is at work in Norway’s fisheries, where stereoscopic cameras are a new weapon in the battle against sea lice, a pest that plagues farmers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Norwegian government is considering making this technology, developed by a start-up called Aquabyte, a standard tool for farms across the country.
Farmers annotated images to create the initial data set. Over time, the algorithm has continued to sharpen its skills with the goal of finding every individual louse.
But deploying computer …read more
Source:: Business Insider