EIT Digital has announced the first commercial application of its SIOTAD innovation activity, which is designed to support sustainable and efficient agriculture.
Bilberry, a French start-up, signed a deal with Agrifac, an internationally operating manufacturer of crop protection sprayers and sugar beet harvesting technology.
At the end of this year, the company will incorporate Bilberry’s weed detection solution in the sprayers sold on the Australian market, which will allow customers to determine in real time where it is necessary to treat, or not.
CEO of Bilberry Guillaume Jourdain said: “This will allow farmers to save time and spray more effectively, reducing the amount of herbicides needed. Fighting weeds is a priority for Australian farmers, as [these] unwanted plants consume the resources of an already dry soil.”
By the end of 2018, more than 10,000 hectares of Australian land are forecast to be scanned with the technology offered by Bilberry.
The start-up initially intended to sell directly to farmers, however Jourdain added: “We quickly understood that was not the optimal solution; Agrifac’s sales network will allow us to reach many more customers in a shorter time.”
Bilberry’s weed detection technology was developed in collaboration with Nokia, whose Innovation Platform was vital in providing a live development and trial environment, which enabled the start-up to access the sufficient computational power needed to train algorithms.
EIT Digital is a business champion of Bilberry’s initiative.