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Can AI-powered robots boost seaweed farms?


One company is helping seaweed farmers scale with its suite of smart technologies

Spotted: With carbon emissions continuing to accelerate climate change, the IPCC’s AR6 synthesis report highlights the role that removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can play in addition to deep, rapid, and sustained emission reductions. Some experts believe that one way to efficiently sequester carbon at scale is through seaweed. However, macroalgae farming is associated with high overheads, which makes it challenging for small-scale farms to be financially productive. One company hoping to change this is Samudra Oceans. 

The company makes use of a range of next-generation technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), drones, cameras, sensors, and robots to help seaweed farmers optimise manpower and maximise yields. Very often, seaweed growers waste valuable time and money on farm visits to assess the health of their crops, but Samudra makes it possible to do this remotely. This allows for far easier and more accurate monitoring of the crop and, in turn, reduces labour and boat fuel costs that would normally be necessary. 

Samudra’s robots monitor important variables like pathogens, and nutrient and acidity levels, while also tracking crop growth, with all of this information available to farmers through an online platform. The company’s predictive AI algorithms can also estimate the optimal time for harvesting, with robotic technology automatically harvesting crops. In the event of tangled ropes, diseases, and crop losses, the system will send alerts, enabling farmers to act before a farm is substantially impacted. 

Samudra Oceans has just received £150,000 (around €175,000) in investment from the British Design Fund as a part of an £800,000 (around €931,000) pre-seed funding drive. This new funding should help Samudra meet its larger goal of extracting 10 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere by 2033. 

The potential use cases of AI are enormous. In the library, Springwise has also spotted this AI that is transforming fishing as well as a ChatGPT-style AI that’s being used to help discover new battery electrolytes.

Written By: Archie Cox



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