Agritech startup FarmSense receives $2.2m SBIR funding for development of biosecurity measures against native and invasive pests
FarmSense, the agritech startup and creator of Smart Flight Sensors, announced it has been awarded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funds in the amount of more than $2.2 million to aid in ongoing biosecurity research, including the impact of Japanese Beetles and Gypsy Moths as invasive species.
The company's novel classification algorithms, combined with its FlightSensor, help farmers identify harmful insects in their fields in real time, providing better data for critical decisions that can potentially lower pesticide use and increase crop yield.
Shailendra Singh, Co-founder and CTO, FarmSense: "The growing consensus is that early detection and rapid response is the best solution to the pest issues facing us. However, early detection has been a challenge due to lack of robust automatic surveillance systems. FarmSense's real-time classification and monitoring system provides faster, more accurate counts to alert farmers to species more quickly, enabling a proactive response that can save time, money, and crops."
Research shows that invasive species disproportionately affect communities in poor and rural areas that depend on natural resources, healthy ecosystems and tourism for their livelihoods. In addition, invasive insect pests can drive food insecurity and undermine ongoing investments in development.
During the study, FarmSense will investigate how the FlightSensor can improve invasive pest control for rural communities in California. The company will test new classification models and algorithms that can detect multiple commercially significant species at the onset of their arrival to an area. The company will also explore ways to reduce power requirements and improve battery life for FlightSensors.
The company plans to publicly launch its FlightSensor in 2022, with a focus on the Navel Orangeworm, a pest prevalent in California nut farming.