Deep Agro is an intelligent system that seeks to reduce the use of agrochemicals and recently won the Zurich Innovation Championship 2020, a global competition of the insurance company, and this is its second edition. The company won the local competition against 11 other finalists, which included varied and original solutions on issues such as agriculture, health, machinery maintenance and accident prevention, among others.
Winners must now compete regionally and, if they succeed again, they will do so with the best ideas in the world. The three global winners, which will be chosen in August this year, will obtain resources, dissemination and support from Zurich for the development of their prototypes.
"At present, there is 60 percent horticultural production waste because they have an excess of agrochemicals. In that sense, our system allows us to make much more efficient use of these products," said Juan Manuel Baruffaldi, a graduate in Sciences of Computing specialized in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision. Baruffaldi is one of the founders of the company, along with four electronic engineers.
Deep Agro is testing equipment that can be installed in any sprayer with software that recognizes weeds to apply herbicides only to them, unlike the traditional method involved in doing so throughout the batch. "These are modules that can go onto the wings of any sprayer, with a camera, a computer and five solenoid valves that allow you to open and shut the peaks independently. The cameras take pictures of the batch and are processed in real time, differentiating between weeds and cultivation. This allows the use of agrochemicals and water to be reduced by up to 70%," explained Marcos Mammarella, Director of Operations at Deep Agro, in a note from La Nación.
The development is currently under test in a 500-hectare field in the town of Santa Fe in Casilda, which has the most young entrepreneurs. But the company is already billing thanks to the sale of other Artificial Intelligence services at the request of its agricultural customers, who contact them when they need specific technological solutions.
"The competition is part of our mission to help customers become more sustainable and time-resistant. In turn, it encourages the growth of young companies that bring new and innovative approaches to the work," said Giovanni Giuliani, Group Head of Strategy, Innovation and Business Development, adding, "The Zurich Innovation Championship creates a perfect combination: a global insurer with almost 150 years of experience and young companies with bold ideas that together can help and improve the lives of millions of people."