Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD) and its Innobooster program has awarded a grant to Danish mobile robotics company Seasony, home of vertical farming robot “Watney.” The 1.2 million Danish kroner grant (≈ USD 170,000) funds a project that will develop AI-enabled early warning systems to help vertical farmers be more profitable, sustainable and productive.
Two-track technology focus
Slated to run from October 1, 2023, to October 31, 2024, the Seasony project will create image recognition algorithms that alert vertical farmers to problems that could squander inputs or harm crops.
Seasony’s early warning vertical farm technology involves two separate tracks:
- The first track focuses on identifying poor seed germination, where early identification and intervention can conserve water, energy and nutrients that would be wasted on a crop destined for unsatisfactory output.
- The second track zeros in on early detection of diseases and pests, enabling growers to take pre-emptive measures to manage diseases and pests before problems escalate.
Seasony estimates that data-driven strategies, like those the technology will enable, can amplify vertical farming yields by up to 30% through reduced waste, efficiency gains and higher crop output.
Leveraging Watney’s work
The technology under development will leverage images captured by Seasony’s mobile robot “Watney,” which scans the farm throughout the day. These images not only feed into the computer vision algorithms but are also available to users in a straightforward gallery format.
“This marks Seasony’s first significant foray into data analytics,” says CEO Christopher Thomasen. “While our primary focus remains on automating transport and data collection tasks, this new capability will deliver enhanced insights to our clients.”
As the project progresses, Seasony will collaborate with existing vertical farm partners to test the technology. The company will also actively seek new partnerships for pilot farm testing.
Image of Watney at work, courtesy of Seasony.