Google.org announced on Wednesday that Mumbai-based Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence was one of the 20 organisations it had shortlisted from the Google AI Impact Challenge. Wadhwani Institute will receive a $2 million grant from Google.org to create technologies to reduce crop loss in cotton farming. The company will use Integrated Pest Management for this.
Besides the grant, Wadhwani Institute will also receive credit and consulting from Google Cloud and coaching by Google's AI experts.
The Google AI Impact Challenge was an open call to non-profit, social enterprises and research institutes from across the globe to submit their idea on using AI to address societal challenges. Over 2,600 organisation applied for the challenge.
Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org said:
"AI is at a nascent stage when it comes to the value it can have for the social impact sector, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this work and considering where there is potential for use to do even more."
Using Wadhwani's project, farmers can reduce crop loss and use pesticides more effectively, using only a basic smartphone. When a farmer or agriculture programme worker clicks a picture of a pest trap, Wadhwani's AI technology will count the pests and classify them, based on the photograph.
Wadhwani Institute is partnering with the Government of Maharashtra and Better Cotton Initiative to facilitate farmer interactions and collect data.
Raghu Dharmaraju, Wadhwani AI's VP (Products and Programmes) said:
"Small farmers worldwide depend heavily on government and non-profit programmes to figure out what to do at every step of the crop cycle. By using AI to augment human capabilities and overcome systematic challenges in these large-scale programmes, we can help millions of farmers. Pest management is just the beginning."
According to a press release, Wadhwani AI team will travel to San Francisco in the coming week. The 20 shortlisted organisations will be joining Google AI experts, Project Managers and startup specialists from Google's Launchpad Accelerator for five days.
The programme will be for a duration of six months. Through Google's Launchpad programme, the 20 organisations will develop their Objectives and Key Results and set timelines for project completion. Each team, besides having access to Google's resourced and expert mentorship, will be assigned an expert from Google for regular coaching sessions.