Concept: Israeli technology startup Greeneye has rolled out an AI-enabled precision spraying system that helps to reduce herbicide usage. The new system leverages AI and deep learning to improve the weed and pest control process in agriculture. It can detect and spray herbicide to weeds among crops with 95.7% accuracy.
Nature of Disruption: Greeneye’s system is designed to integrate seamlessly into any brand or size of a commercial sprayer, which eliminates the need for farmers to invest in costly new machines. It also ensures that precision spraying can be carried out at the same travel speed as broadcast spraying ensuring no reduction in productivity for farmers. The system leverages cameras mounted directly onto spraying machines to capture images at a rate of 40 frames per second (fps), enabling rapid detection and classification of weeds down to the species level. Utilizing the startup’s proprietary dataset and algorithms, the system calculates the amount of herbicide required and sprays it directly onto the weeds, leaving nearby crops unaffected. It also features a dual-spraying function that enables farmers to apply residual herbicides on a broadcast basis while applying non-residual herbicides precisely on weeds. This helps minimize herbicide usage and improves weed control efficacy compared to standard broadcast spraying.
Outlook: A large number of herbicides are applied by farmers across the globe to control weeds among the crops. However, the majority of the herbicides are sprayed onto bare soil or the crop. The overuse of chemicals has various side effects including damages to the environment, causing weeds to develop resistance to herbicides, and a financial burden for farmers. Greeneye claims that its new AI-based precision farming system enables the farmers to overcome these challenges. In December 2021, the startup raised $22M in a funding round led by JVP and with participation from Syngenta Group Ventures, Hyperplane Venture Capital, and One Way Ventures. It aims to use the funding to support its commercial launch in the US in 2022 and also advance the technology’s analytical capabilities and extend its usage to new inputs and crops.