Griffith University’s leadership in incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into farming production to automate tasks such as strawberry quality control and larvae counting has been recognised with $5 million in funding from the Australian Government.
Led by Professor Yongsheng Gao, from Griffith’s School of Engineering and Built Environment and the Institute for Integrated Intelligence Systems, the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Research Hub (ARC ITRH) for Driving Farming Productivity and Disease Prevention aims to increase farm production and disease prevention through advancing and transferring new artificial intelligence technologies into industrial deployment.
The ARC Research Hub will combine machine vision, machine learning, software quality control, engineering, biology, and farming industries to develop technologies to build more intelligent systems.
The team at Griffith have demonstrated AI-based quality control of strawberries on the farm in a day-to-day production environment.
Professor Gao said being awarded the funding was a privilege.
“We want to help growers grow better produce and lower their costs using the wealth of technologies that we have at our disposal,” he said.
“I think we were successful because of the trust from the industry and the partner organisations to give us the opportunity to lead these projects.
“This is obviously recognition of our previous track record, our current work and achievements in this area, and also our strong capability in using artificial intelligence in integrated farming production and disease prevention areas.”
Professor Gao said the funding would allow the Research Hub to elevate its current work in discovery and fundamental research into another level of performance.
“Now it’s come to the stage where it needs to perform on a larger scale to transform the industry into a highly efficient production,” Professor Gao said.
“In this hub we can do many things at a high level in the various sectors of the aquaculture and agriculture industries.”
With its researchers located across five Australian universities, the CSIRO and in five additional industry partner organisations, the Research Hub is expected to contribute to higher farming efficiency, lower production costs and fewer disease risks, giving the Australian industry new business opportunities and an international competitive advantage.