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Griffith Magazine

Griffith leads AI research into smart farming

Griffith Magazine

Third Edition February 2019

Artificial Intelligence - or, as it's commonly known, AI - has swiftly become a bastion of emerging scientific research promising to transform the world in ways which hitherto have never been imagined.

For the moment, AI is being put to work in a vast number of fields including computational and business intelligence, security, data science, social robots and medical diagnoses, to name but a few.

Griffith University is also in the vanguard of the AI revolution, particularly in farming production technology, which will lead to greater efficiencies, improving crop yields and preventing disease outbreaks.

In 2018, Griffith’s expertise in these agricultural technologies, such as strawberry technology control, was recognised with a $5 million funding allocation from the Federal Government..

Led by Professor Yongsheng Gao, from Griffith’s School of Engineering and Built Environment and the Institute for Integrated Intelligence Systems, the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub (ARC ITRH) for Driving Farming Productivity and Disease Prevention aims to increase farm production and disease prevention through advancing and transferring new artificial intelligence technologies into industrial deployment.

“We want to help growers grow better produce and lower their costs.” – Professor Yongsheng Gao

The ARC Research Hub will combine machine vision, machine learning, software quality control, engineering, biology, and farming industries to develop technologies to build more intelligent systems.

The team at Griffith has demonstrated AI-based quality control of strawberries on the farm in a day-to-day production environment.

Professor Gao said being awarded the funding was a privilege.

“We want to help growers grow better produce and lower their costs using the wealth of technologies that we have at our disposal,” he said.

“I think we were successful because of the trust from the industry and the partner organisations to give us the opportunity to lead these projects.

“This is obviously recognition of our previous track record, our current work and achievements in this area, and also our strong capability in using artificial intelligence in integrated farming production and disease prevention areas.”

Professor Gao said the funding would allow the Research Hub to elevate its current work in discovery and fundamental research to another level of performance.

“Now it’s come to the stage where it needs to perform on a larger scale to transform the industry into a highly efficient production,” Professor Gao said.

“In this hub, we can do many things at a high level in the various sectors of the aquaculture and agriculture industries.”