Scottish precision farming pioneers, SoilEssentials, has launched an exciting new artificial intelligence platform aimed at safeguarding food production and the environment.

SKAi, the Brechin-based company’s KORE Artificial Intelligence project, is developing re-trainable smart camera vision in order to recognise, map and precision apply agrochemicals to crops.

SoilEssentials managing director, Jim Wilson, said: “We are encouraged by the findings of our feasibility project, Grass Vision, which successfully developed a low-cost machine vision system to recognise and precision apply herbicides to broad leaved weeds in grassland.

“The SKAi project will build on this success and take it to the next level. The aim is that in the very near future we will have technology available which can ensure accurate differentiation between crop and weed species and therefore, enable precision targeting of agro-chemicals,” he added.

“Ultimately, this targeting technology will allow farmers, agronomists and agrochemical applicators to dramatically reduce the total amount of protection products applied to crops across Britain and worldwide.

“The SKAi technology will be integrated into our existing KORE precision farming platform, extending its functionality to allow the support of in-field smart cameras using image transfer and machine learning,” said Mr Wilson.

The three-year SKAi project – which is supported by Innovate UK – brings together agricultural practitioners with space industry technicians, agronomists and electrical engineers.

The project is led by SoilEssentials, which is partnered in the project by Deimos Space UK, Peacock Technology, Scottish Agronomy and the University of the West of England.