Advanced technologies developed in one sector have long transcended the boundaries of their discipline and can often be applied on a much wider scale. What is particularly important in these uncertain and turbulent times, they can even significantly contribute to society's social, infrastructural and physical security.
At the end of last autumn, an example of the application of technologies developed by the agrifood tech innovation house "ART21" in pharmacy was widely communicated in Lithuania. The company, using its knowledge on how to predict plant diseases at an especially early stage with the help of technologies, started developing a unique system for predicting the evolutionary development of the SARS-CoV-2 genome based on artificial intelligence and mathematical modeling technologies, and achieved promising results. Simply put, agrifood innovators have applied their expertise to the development of a mutation prediction system for the COVID-19 virus.
We spoke with Augustas Alešiūnas, the owner of the largest agrifood innovation development company in the Baltic States, about the fact that the trend of the need for forecasting technologies will continue in the world, and how the innovations created for the agrifood sector will contribute to public safety by crossing the boundaries of this sector.
Every summer we see terrible forest fires all over the world, from the coasts of California to Australia. With the onset of drought, many begin to anxiously wait for the next fire to start and it seems impossible to control it. The problem of the health status of trees is also becoming more and more relevant. Due to such examples, according to the owner of "ART21", Augustas Alešiūnas, there is currently a clear trend towards the development of technologies for forecasting expected events. In the agrifood sector, this has been done for a long time.
"Each tree has its own specific temperature, as well as other parameters that can be monitored when processing satellite images. In this way, it is possible to monitor huge areas in real time, and then, after identifying dangerous trends, send drones with hyperspectral cameras there. With this technology, it is possible to obtain extremely detailed and reliable data, which would allow making reasonable decisions and acting quickly both in minimizing the probability of a fire and its consequences, and in preventing the spread of a disease that could destroy the forest or large areas of it. It is an example when Tech companies, universities and NPOs united, to exploit drones for better living under a consortia name of ICAEURUS", - said Augustas Alešiūnas about the tendency to apply technologies from the agrifood sector in other sectors.
Another example of the employment of this type of technology in another sector is boar monitoring. The synergy of artificial intelligence algorithms and drones with hyperspectral cameras is seen as a tool that will help monitor the number of wild boars in the forests and their migration directions. This will allow farmers to be warned about impending danger to their property. What is more, application of such technologies would allow extremely fast response to boar African swine fever cases and prevent the spread of disease at a very early stage.
To sum up, it is clear that after a long time of concentrating the employment of satellite photos, drones, hyperspectral cameras and artificial algorithms only on the detection of plant diseases at a latent stage or the detection of the amount of micro/macro elements outside of laboratory, experienced developers of such technologies are finally beginning to adapt them to other areas important for public safety.