Producing food responsibly and sustainably with AI

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Tuesday, 28 January, 2020


Producing food responsibly and sustainably with AI

With an increasing global population, the urgency to find new and innovative ways to address food demand is felt around the world. Since 1970, fish farming has existed in the Nordic countries and developed into a major industry. Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) is a leading producer of sustainable salmon, selling about 70,000 tons of salmon every year. This equates to one million salmon meals per day, all year round.

In the harsh and sometimes dangerous environments of the most northern parts of Norway, NRS sought to increase the safety of its employees, reduce operational costs and prioritise the sustainability of Nordic aquaculture.

Through an artificial intelligence (AI) for salmon analytics pilot, ABB and Microsoft co-created a solution with NRS to produce quality food in a safer and more environmentally responsible way. The pilot showed that NRS can increase the efficiency and safety of its workers, who now aren’t required to be at open sea as often as before. The new technology will have an impact on the CO2 footprint due to fewer operations and better fish welfare, resulting in cleaner seas and improved efficiencies.

“Norway Royal Salmon has always focused on extensive research, development, cooperation and innovation,” said Arve Olav Lervag, COO Farming, NRS. “To continuously improve sustainability and increase the safety of our individuals, we worked with ABB and Microsoft to co-create innovative ways that empower us to achieve more on every level.”

ABB and Microsoft implemented technology with remote visual object detection for biomass estimation and fish population counting. The technology will monitor the growth of the salmon and reduce the workload of NRS workers, while providing an edge in collecting critical data from the production of salmon.

Underwater cameras capture images of the salmon in their submerged fish pens, floating kilometres offshore at sea. A layer of AI on top of the video footage makes it possible to measure and count salmon automatically.

“ABB is fully committed to helping bring about a more sustainable future, and here we’re using AI to revolutionise aquaculture and deliver on that promise,” said ABB Chief Digital Officer Guido Jouret. “By monitoring fish health and performance, and minimising environmental impact and reducing operational costs, ABB Ability is enabling NRS to reach a new level of competitiveness.”

“The collaboration between ABB, Microsoft and NRS has been highly innovative in this project,” said Christian Bucher, Global AI Specialist, Microsoft. “All parties embarked on a journey with a strong commitment to a sustainable food future. Only through such co-innovation and co-creation between engineering teams and the customer, could we realise maximum benefits. In just a few months, we went from ideation to the onsite solution installation.”

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