Microsoft backs AI-based Australian projects focused around the environment

Microsoft has decided to invest their resources into six Australian AI projects related to biodiversity, water, agriculture and climate change. This was done as part of the AI for Earth program.

Among the recipients of the funds were the following:

– Griffith University

– InFarm

– Monash University

– Queensland University of Technology

– Bush Heritage Australia

– The Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Recently, Australia has faced numerous environmental challenges, including bushfires triggered by dry-lightning, high temperatures, prolonged drought and agriculture problems. The universities’ research will try to come up with a solution to these.

Monash University is working on analysing climate changes with Microsoft Azure cognitive services and by using geo-tagged photos.

QUT will be using drones to great advantage here; having built an AI system for interpreting images captured with hyperspectral cameras mounted on them, they will gain an improved insight into the reef.

Griffith University is focusing their efforts on Microsoft Azure machine learning technology. They want to develop a prediction model that analyses carbon sequestration of green stormwater infrastructure. According to Microsoft, the project will rely heavily on a combination of AI and ecological data.

InFarm is also exploring the possibilities of AI. They are trying to identify weed species, particularly ones resistant to chemicals. Moreover, they are using the technology to provide application maps for variable spray tractors. The goal is to reduce the farmers’ herbicide costs by 95%.

Bush Heritage Australia is using Microsoft Azure virtual machines to aid with protection of endangered species by helping detect predators.

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy will be using AI and image recognition for animal identification purposes.