AI powered solution could help assess weather damage

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AI powered solution could help assess weather damage

Adverse weather events can severely impact crops, which is why University of Florida scientists are looking to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to quantify damages more efficiently.

The harm extreme events such as hurricanes and floods can bring to the produce industry is not only critical, but it can also be difficult to assess.

Growers need to know the extent of crop loss to file insurance claims and apply for other recovery aid. This is where AI technology comes in.

UF/IFAS scientist Yiannis Ampatzidis developed Agroview and AgroSense at his lab at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. 

AgroSense is a ground-based, AI-enhanced sensor that tells tree-crop sprayers to apply pesticide only to existing trees. 

The solution takes aerial and ground images to determine fruit-tree characteristics, such as height, canopy size, leaf density and overall health.

To help further Ampatzidis’ research, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded him a $300,000 grant.

“The use of this novel technology in commercial fields is expected to help specialty crop growers rapidly calculate losses and better communicate recovery needs to ensure business viability,” said Ampatzidis.

Thanks to this economic boost, Ampatzidis’ team will develop and train an AI model to analyze the images from Agroview and AgroSense. 

The technology will then be able to automatically recognize and detect damaged crops, fallen trees, broken limbs, ruined tomato and pepper plants, fallen trees and flooded areas.

With this innovation, the scientist hopes to minimize interruption to the U.S. produce supply chain due to unexpected weather and climatic events.

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