Some of the most exciting innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) are taking place far from gleaming tech campuses.
Advances in AI-driven robotics are also empowering farmers to feed more people with less land and fewer workers.
A cleaner environment, a safer food supply, and more plentiful harvests to feed the hungry.
NatureFresh Farms: Boosting Yields And Making Food Safer
At NatureFresh Farms’ 185 acres of greenhouses in Ohio and Ontario, workers don’t need to patrol the aisles to see if crops are ripe. Instead, robotic cameras collect images of plants, feeding the data into AI algorithms that calculate exactly when blossoms will transform themselves into fully ripe vegetables.
The sensors measure the temperature of each plant and the amount of water and fertilizer that feeds into it. On that information’s basis, technicians adjust settings using smartphone apps. Before the advent of this automation, technicians needed an hour to log changes. Now they need just five minutes.
NatureFresh analyzes plant information at scale to produce accurate harvest and yield forecasts. Managers can fiddle with the numbers to see how adjusting temperature, water or fertilizer can increase yields.
But AI is able to do even more. Since food safety is a permanently critical issue in agriculture, NatureFresh uses AI to tag each vegetable with a 32-character bar code showing where it was picked, who picked it and to where it will ship.