Crop pest control via your smartphone

Google has awarded a grant worth US$2 million to Mumbai-based Wadhwani Institute for artificial intelligence for its project, which aims to help farmers control crop pests.

Farmers can set up pest traps in their fields and take pictures of the traps on their smartphone. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) then counts and identifies these pests.

The technology is for use on cotton crops and aims to reduce crop losses by implementing integrated pest management strategies. Counting and identifying the pests allow for risk to be assessed and action to be taken accordingly.

Google is providing grant aid to 20 recipients in a project called the ‘Google AI Impact Challenge’ and total funding under the programme comes to US$25 million.

Grants were open to non-profit organisations, social enterprises and research institutions which were using AI to combat against societal issues.

Recipients of grant aid will receive expertise from Google, as well as funding. President of Google, Jacqueline Fuller, stated:

“AI is at a nascent stage when it comes to the value it can have for the social impact sector, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this work and considering where there is potential for use to do even more.”

The Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Mumbai was opened in February 2018 by Indian-American brothers Sunil and Romesh Wadhwani, who are known as tech billionaires.

US$3 million per year is planned to fund the development of artificial intelligence for social good at the institute over the next 10 years.