Mumbai’s Wadhwani AI wins $2mn Google grant

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Kunwar Prithvi Singh Chauhan
Part time journalist, full-time observer. Editor-in-Chief at The Indian Wire. I cover updates related to business and startups.

Mumbai, May 8 Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence has been chosen among 20 organisations that would share $25 million in grants from Google for winning an AI impact contest.

Mumbai-based Wadhwani AI will receive $2 million grant to create technologies that will help reduce crop losses in cotton farming through integrated pest management.

“Wadhwani AI’s mission is to use AI to help improve the lives of the billions of poor and underserved communities throughout the world. Agriculture is one of the critical domains in which we apply our efforts,” P Anandan, CEO, Wadhwani AI, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The “Google AI Impact Challenge” was an open call to nonprofits, social enterprises and research institutions from around the world to submit their ideas to use AI to help address societal challenges.

Over 2,600 organisations from 119 countries had applied.

The selected projects address issues in the areas of health, economic opportunity and empowerment, environmental protection and conservation, education, misinformation and crisis and emergency response, Google said, while announcing the winners at its annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California.

“We are grateful to Google and delighted to have their support and the benefit of their deep expertise and experience in developing AI solutions at scale,” Anandan added.

In Wadhwani AI’s project, AI technology which runs on a basic smartphone, classifies and counts pests based on photos of pest traps taken by farmers and agriculture programme workers.

This solution can be used to provide millions of farmers with timely, localised advice, thus reducing crop loss and over-use of pesticides by improving the timing of usage.

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