Edge Executive Insight – Daniel McCann, CEO and Founder , Precision AI – Rising Star of the Year FINALIST
In the lead up to Edge Computing World, we’re taking some time to speak to key Executives from the leading companies. Today we’re talking with Daniel McCann, CEO and Founder of Precision AI
Tell us a bit about yourself – what led you to get involved in the edge computing market and Precision AI
I grew up around technology and have spent the last 25 years within diverse industries such as artificial intelligence, fintech, security, and agriculture. By 2050, the world is going to need to grow 70% more food than it does today. To meet this demand, we need to introduce automation onto the farm, but the sheer volume of data and unavailability of high speed rural internet all but eliminate cloud-based solutions as an option. We saw an opportunity to transform the way we grow our food by providing real-time edge AI for in-field decision making, to power the robots that will grow tomorrow’s food.
What is it you & your company are uniquely bringing to the edge market?
Precision AI has pushed the limits of computer vision and real-time edge processing well beyond what has been done to date from an aerial drone. Our system performs complex AI inference on sub-mm scale data in real time at speeds exceeding 45mph – all while keeping within the weight and power budgets required by drones. This innovation allows – for the first time – real-time decision making at the breakneck speeds required to cover massive landmasses, while retaining the extreme precision required for difficult use cases like individual plant species identification or insect detection. This has applications well beyond the agriculture market.
Tell us more about the company, what’s your advantages compared to others on the market, who is involved, and what are your major milestones so far?
Precision AI was created to dramatically reduce the amount of pesticide used in agriculture by using drone-based computer vision to identify weeds in real-time, and spray only the weeds. This can result in a reduction in herbicide usage of up to 95%, while preserving soil health and decreasing pesticide residues in our food. Our focus is on broad-acre farms like corn, wheat, soy, and rice, which represent the vast majority of worldwide acres. We have secured partnerships with major ag equipment manufacturers and chemical companies to bring this technology to farms around the globe.
How do you see the edge market developing over the next few years?
As AI and robotics proliferate through various industries, edge computing will continue to accelerate in importance. Innovations in processing speed and edge-optimized AI algorithms will create a future where automation becomes ubiquitous. Hardware optimizations that lower the per-watt cost of performing complex operations will drive new software and AI innovation that will create a feedback loop of innovation that will bleed over to many industries.
What are the main trends you see about integrating edge computing into different verticals?
Use cases which require huge volumes of data in remote locations, such as agriculture, resource exploration, and infrastructure maintenance, will drive the need for edge computing exponentially. Markets which are experiencing labour shortages will likely see adoption first. In agriculture, edge computing’s involvement is essential to solve emerging global problems in food security such as food shortages, increasing population, and excessive chemical inputs in our food.