Trapview: Could an AI-powered insect trap solve the $220 billion pest problem?

Trapview: Could an AI-powered insect trap solve the $220 billion pest problem?
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CNN Business

Pests destroy up to 40% of the world’s crops every year 220 billion dollars According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in economic losses. Trapview uses the power of AI to help solve the problem.

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

Matej Štefančič, CEO of Trapview and parent company EFOS, says: “We have created the largest database of insect images in the world, which allows us to make the most optimal use of modern AI-based computational vision.”

As climate change drives the spread of species and disrupts the migration patterns of highly destructive pests, e.g. desert locustsŠtefančič hopes to help farmers save their crops with faster, smarter interventions.

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

Trapview’s devices use pheromones to attract pests, which are photographed by a camera inside. The AI ​​cross-references the images with Trapview’s database and can identify more than 60 species, such as moths that damage apples and cotton bollworms that can damage lettuce and tomatoes. Once identified, the system integrates ground and weather data, determines the likely impact of the insect, and sends the findings to farmers via the app.

According to Štefančič, depending on the area and the value of the product, one trap can cover from a few hectares to more than 100. Devices come in different shapes and sizes, and the system is adapted to plants and landscapes. Štefančič says that a single insect can sometimes cause anxiety. In other cases, hundreds of insects can be caught and still not cause concern.

Trapview software can also calculate where and when to use pesticides. Štefančič says Trapview can significantly reduce the use of chemical sprays and the need for farmers to visit their fields. By reducing the emissions generated Farmers plowing their fields and those involved in the production and transportation of pesticides argue that the technology could also help the climate.

Trapview is one of a number of automated pest detection systems.

“Any agronomic and artificial intelligence that can help meet the challenges of the global food crisis is a good thing,” says Steve Edgington, head of the biopesticides group at the Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International, a non-profit intergovernmental organization.

About 2 million tons of pesticides are used each year, Edgington explains.

“Reducing the amount of pesticide use on agricultural land is critical if we are to produce food sustainably and in the face of challenges related to pests, diseases and climate change,” he said.

Trapview currently employs 50 people and received a $10 million investment in September. Using artificial intelligence in pest control is not alone. Pessl Instruments has evolved iScouta solar-powered insect trap and camera identification system, while FarmSense Flight Sensor listens for pests and uses artificial intelligence to identify them by the sound of their wings beating.

According to Buyung Hadi, FAO’s agriculture officer, solutions like Trapview represent a departure from traditional pest control, which typically relies on reactive rather than proactive approaches.

“If combined with safe and sustainable solutions such as biological control, predictive technologies can facilitate the transition to more sustainable crop protection,” says Hadi, warning that the quality of data from these technologies is key.

“We need to be very careful in crafting the messages and recommendations that come out of the forecast so that they don’t create panic among farmers, leading to the very casual use of pesticides that we want to prevent in the first place.”

Since its launch in 2012, Trapview says it has sold more than 7,500 devices in more than 50 countries. He focused on Italy, France, Spain, USA and Brazil targeting various products such as grapes, tomatoes, olives, tree fruits, brassicas. , cotton and sugar cane.

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