An innovative Australian-developed smartphone app that uses artificial intelligence to help wine grape growers easily diagnose nutrient disorders in grapevines is set to grow following a new commercialisation agreement.
The prototype app which assesses images of vine leaf symptoms captured using a standard smartphone camera was developed by a team of viticulturists, plant physiologists and machine learning specialists through a research partnership between NSW Department of Primary Industries(NSW DPI) and Charles Sturt University with funding from Wine Australia.
Global agtech start-up Deep Planet has obtained exclusively licensing of the technology with a view of adding to its capabilities and commercialising the technology to further benefit grape and wine producers.
Deep Planet CEO, David Carter, is excited at the prospect of taking on the technology and adding it to the suite of viticulture remote sensing, monitoring and prediction features offered by their industry leading VineSignal platform.
“We’ve been working closely with a number of Australian producers to help them manage their vine health, irrigation, yield and maturity using satellite imagery combined with our machine learning andAI capabilities. Adding and improving this technology as a practical tool for on the ground nutrition monitoring is an obvious next step to enhance the impact we can offer our clients,” Carter said.
Vine nutrition is a significant cost to the management of a vineyard, and if not handled correctly, yield and quality can suffer. The prototype app was developed as a technical solution to help wine grape growers deal with symptom confusion of vine nutritional disorders.
Charles Sturt Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Michael Friend, said the University’s image analysis experts, including Associate Professor Lihong Zeng and Professor Manoranjan Paul, worked with NSW DPI researchers to develop disease image libraries for artificial intelligence assessment of vines in the field.
“The detection and diagnostic capability of the app works through the image analysis algorithms developed by the team and allows users to quickly identify vine nutrient deficiencies and access remedial actions based upon the diagnosis, Professor Friend said.
NSW DPI Deputy Director General Dr Adrian Zammit said the commercialisation of research through government, industry and corporate agreements can help farmers address practical challenges.
“It is encouraging to see these research bodies working together with a global agtech company, and together recognising the value of this key co-operative research project,” Dr Zammit said.
“NSW DPI is committed to understanding and researching the challenges of our agriculture sector and ultimately delivering practical outcomes that add capability and competitiveness to the farmgate.”