Artificial intelligence for precise weed control? No longer a futuristic idea

A wide range of new concepts were on display in Canada’s Farm Progress Show’s Innovation showcase hall this month. A total of 22 inventions were submitted to the show this year, with one innovation winning gold, and two others tied for the sterling award.

Saskatchewan-based Precision AI was one of the two sterling award winners. CEO, Daniel McCann says his idea of precision drone spraying was inspired by an office plant.

“We kind of got to (the idea) by accident, we started off as a technology company that did artificial intelligence and found out very quickly how good it was at detecting plants because we had a plant in our office and we would constantly use this plant as our test bed,” McCann says. “We found out that it was so good at detecting plants, that it was sort of a natural evolution to say, ok, lets start of thinking about the agriculture space for the application for this technology.”

The drone is roughly seven feet in diameter, and, using artificial intelligence, can survey a field in real time, differentiating between weeds, the crop, and the ground.

“If it sees a weed in the field, with its artificial intelligence, it can zone in and precision spray just the weed, so it’s almost like a drone-based spot sprayer,” McCann explains.

Field trials with the drone are currently taking place outside of Regina and Saskatoon with the goal to learn from mistakes should they occur, and then roll out production for the 2020 growing season.

Listen to RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse and Precision AI’s Daniel McCann in the interview from Canada’s Farm Progress Show below. 

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