€2m R&D Project Bringing AI To Farming

29 Jan 2018 | 11.53 am

€2m R&D Project Bringing AI To Farming

Dairymaster, IT Tralee and Lero collaborating in research

29 Jan 2018 | 11.53 am

A new R&D partnership is hoping to develop artificial intelligence (AI) tech projects to improve farm productivity.

The €2m partnership involves Irish dairy equipment manufacturer Dairymaster, IT Tralee and Lero, the Irish software research centre based in the University of Limerick. The programme is backed by Science Foundation Ireland.

A team of researchers will be hired, including PhD students and post-doctoral scientists and engineers, to work with Lero and Dairymaster R&D teams. The researchers will apply a range of skills, among them embedded electronics and sensor technology, to software development and data analytics.

As part of the R&D programme, Lero and Dairymaster will also look to develop autonomous systems to ease the workload on the dairy farm.

“The availability of skilled labour has been identified as one of the key challenges to the dairy industry,” said Dr Joseph Walsh, head of the School of STEM and Lero researcher at IT Tralee.

“Automating labour intensive processes will not only be hugely beneficial to the farmer but will also enhance animal health and milk quality by ensuring tasks are completed to consistently high levels.”

The R&D programme also includes the development of Internet of Things technology to boost milk quality and animal health.

Dairymaster, which is headquartered in Kerry and was founded there in 198, employs 350 people. The dairy equipment manufacturer now has operations in the UK and the US, as well as Ireland, and exports to 40 countries.

“We see this whole area of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems as being key to the future of dairy farm profitability and sustainability, and we are delighted to be involved in the largest indigenous project in Lero,” said Dr John Daly, research and innovation manager with Dairymaster.

IT Tralee and Dairymaster have been organising partnership between them for a number of years; other research collaborations by Dairymaster have been carried out with Teagasc and UCD.

 

Photo: (from left) Dr. John Daly, Professor Edmond Harty, Dairymaster, Dr. Joseph Walsh and Deidre Brosnan, Dairymaster Causeway. (Pic: Domnick Walsh)

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