Mumbai’s Wadhwani AI Wins a $2 million grant from Google to Expand Agricultural Technologies

AI_ImpactChallenge

indica News Bureau-

Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence has been chosen among 20 organizations that would share $25 million in grants from Google for winning an AI impact contest.

Mumbai-based Wadhwani AI will receive a $2 million grant to create technologies that will help reduce crop losses in cotton farming through integrated pest management.

“Wadhwani AI’s mission is to use AI to help improve the lives of the billions of poor and underserved communities throughout the world. Agriculture is one of the critical domains in which we apply our efforts,” P Anandan the CEO of Wadhwani AI said in a statement on Wednesday.

The “Google AI Impact Challenge” was an open call to nonprofits, social enterprises, and research institutions from around the world to submit their ideas on how to use AI to help address societal challenges.

Over 2,600 organizations from 119 countries had applied.

According to the blog posted on [www.eng.wadhwaniai.org] Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org stated, “We received thousands of applications to the Google AI Impact Challenge and are excited that Wadhwani AI was selected to receive funding and expertise from Google. AI is at a nascent stage when it comes to the value it can have for the social impact sector, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this work and considering where there is potential for use to do even more.”

The selected projects address issues in the areas of health, economic opportunity and empowerment, environmental protection and conservation, education, misinformation and crisis, and emergency response, Google said while announcing the winners at its annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California.

“We are grateful to Google and delighted to have their support and the benefit of their deep expertise and experience in developing AI solutions at scale,” Anandan added.

In Wadhwani AI’s project, AI technology, which runs on a basic smartphone, classifies and counts pests based on photos of pest traps taken by farmers and agriculture program workers.

This solution can be used to provide millions of farmers with timely, localized advice, thus reducing crop loss and over-use of pesticides by improving the timing of usage.

According to the blog posted on [www.eng.wadhwaniai.org] India has over 6 million farmers and their families dependent on cotton farming for their living. They are unable to manage pests effectively, making it one of the biggest challenges. Cotton accounts for close to half of India’s pesticide usage.

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