December 5, 2022

Trapview: Can an AI-powered insect trap solve a $220 billion pest problem?

3 min read

CNN Business

Insects destroy 40 percent of the world’s crops every year. 220 billion dollars According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in economic losses. Trapview is using the power of AI to help tackle the problem.

A Slovenian company has developed a device that traps and identifies insects, and acts as an early warning system by predicting how they will spread.

“We’ve created the largest database of insect images in the world, which allows us to use modern AI-based computing vision in a really great way,” said Matej Štefančič, CEO of Trapview and parent company EFOS. say

As climate change causes species to spread, and disrupts the migration patterns of highly destructive insects, e.g. Desert locustsŠtefančič hopes to help farmers protect their crops with faster, better interventions.

Automated devices have been used to monitor grapes, tomatoes, olives, tree fruits and brassicas pictured here.

Trap Wave devices use pheromones to attract insects, which are photographed by a camera inside. The AI ​​cross-references images against Trapview’s database, and is able to identify more than 60 species, such as the codling moth, which infects apples, and the cotton bollworm, which damages lettuce and tomatoes. can Once identified, the system adds location and weather data, maps the pest’s potential impact and sends results to farmers via an app.

According to Štefančič, depending on the land and crop value, a single net can cover an area from a few hectares to more than 100. Devices come in different shapes and sizes, systems tailored to crops and landscapes. A single insect can sometimes cause alarm, says Štefančič. In other cases, hundreds of worms may be caught and still be no cause for concern.

TrapView’s app is also able to calculate where and when to apply pesticides. Štefančič says Trapview can significantly reduce the use of chemical sprays and the need for farmers to visit their fields. By reducing emissions generated by Farmers driving to their fields, and those involved in pesticide production and transport, could also help the climate with the technology, they claim.

Trap Wave is one of the automated pest detection systems.

“Any agritech and AI that can help address the challenges of the global food crisis is a good thing,” says Steve Edgington, director of the Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International, a non-profit intergovernmental organization. Biopesticides is the team leader.

Edgington points out that about 2 million tons of pesticides are used each year.

Reducing the amount of pesticide use on agricultural land is critical if we are to produce food sustainably and amid the challenges of pests and diseases and climate change, he added.

Trapview currently employs 50 people, and received a $10 million investment in September. The use of AI to help with pest control is not alone. Pessl Instruments is ready. iScouta solar-powered insect net and camera detection system, while FarmSense’s Flight sensors Listens for insects and uses AI to identify them by the sound of their wings beating.

According to FAO Agriculture Officer Boing Hadi, solutions like Trapviews represent a shift away from traditional pest management, which is typically based on a reactive rather than proactive approach.

“Predictive technologies can facilitate the transition to more sustainable crop protection if combined with solutions that are safe and sustainable, such as biological control,” says Hadi, cautioning that data quality from these technologies is key. Is.

“Great care must be taken in framing the messages and recommendations that emerge from predictive technologies so that they do not create panic among farmers that could trigger the most indiscriminate use of pesticides that we all experience. Want to survive first,” he adds. .

Trapview says it has sold more than 7,500 devices in more than 50 countries since its launch in 2012. It has focused on Italy, France, Spain, USA and Brazil, targeting diverse crops like grapes, tomatoes, olives, tree fruits, brassicas. , cotton and sugarcane.

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