Irish AI company Sparkd join forces with top EU researchers to protect workers in Finland

Sparkd, a full-service AI company based out of Dublin are representing Ireland’s growing AI talent pool as part of FEROX. Members of the Sparkd team attended a partner meeting in Tampere, Finland to officially launch the project in September. FEROX  is a 3-year HORIZON2020 research project funded by the European Commission. 

The project is made up of 9 tech-oriented organisations and academic partners developing a new way of monitoring workers. 

Wild berries are one of Finland’s greatest exports. Approximately 500 million kg of berries grow naturally there every year. But less than 10% of the wild berry crop is harvested from the country’s forests. The main challenge in collecting wild berries lies in manual forest harvesting, namely pickers’ working conditions.

Due to the short season, the majority of the work is conducted by foreign workers with limited knowledge of the language, culture, and landscape.  To better manage and protect these workers, the FEROX project was born.

The project will employ autonomous drones equipped with various sensors to acquire data, build 3D models of the forests and accurately predict location, amount, and types of berries. The collected data will be used to build AI models to help workers locate berries and optimise their operations.

In addition, FEROX will provide wild berry pickers with navigation and locating services and physical support to improve their working conditions. The holistic solution of FEROX will contribute to the overall safety of the workers by automatically monitoring the pickers and providing aid where it is needed. 

Sparkd will spearhead all AI activities throughout the development of the project. Commenting on the launch of FEROX, Dr. Luca Marchesotti, founder and CEO of Sparkd said: “We are thrilled to be a part of the FEROX team. The ability to extract insights from drone footage makes this project particularly special for us. 

“The technical outcomes are huge. Drones are creating incredible opportunities in multiple markets like agriculture, health and safety, and manufacturing. Combining drone technology with state of the art of computer vision and machine learning algorithms is a game-changer. We are positive that the technology we’re working on will be a hot niche in the future”.

For more information on the FEROX project, visit here.

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