2019 BANKSIA LARGE BUSINESS AWARD

OUR WINNERS

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BANKSIA FOUNDATION

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HONOUR
ROLL


2019 BANKSIA LARGE BUSINESS AWARD

 

 

Finalists:
. Australia Post, VIC
. Coca-Cola Amatil, NSW
. John Holland, VIC
. Officeworks, VIC
. QBE Insurance, NSW
. Transurban, VIC

Winner:
Fujitsu Australia Limited in partnership with Saving our Species – NSW Government, NSW
‘Digital Owl’ solution was developed by Fujitsu in collaboration with the NSW Government’s ‘Saving our Species’ program. This solution uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse high-resolution and hyperspectral images photos taken by a drone to ‘see beneath the canopy’, precisely pinpointing the population of endangered plant species.

The solution was first used in Mt Dangar NSW, detecting two endangered species found nowhere else on Earth – an acacia as well as a small native daisy, feared to be extinct from drought – but found in the wild. Digital Owl provides conservation teams with better quality data than ever before, obtained faster, at lower cost, and with fewer carbon emissions; harnessing the power of technology to provide a groundbreaking solution for on-the-ground conservationists to protect precious biodiversity under threat from climate change.

The Fujitsu Digital Owl solution provides an efficient, cost-effective and accurate way to carry out surveys of threatened plants and animals. “The project gives SoS the knowledge it needs to preserve these unique species and undertake key actions like collect seed and cuttings, weed control, and fence off plants that might otherwise be eaten by feral goats” says Tania Pettit, Partnerships Manager from Saving our Species. More than 5000 images were taken from a drone, a cheaper, faster and less-emissions intensive solution than the typical survey helicopter mission. Fujitsu used its artificial intelligence capability in Australia, the UK and Japan to analyse the images, and after a period of trial and error, the AI engine analysed the 5000 image set in a matter of days. The system produced a 3D render of the region, with each plant detected tagged with GPS coordinates. A ranger was then dispatched in the field to check the results – and found the plants where the AI had specified with 80% levels of accuracy for the endangered species and over 90% accuracy for the invasive prickly pear. The solution was funded by Fujitsu’s incubator program which enables innovative staff ideas to develop into fully invested projects. “This technology could change the way we find and monitor threatened species, saving us both time and money. The AI technology that Fujitsu has developed makes analysing thousands of images far more efficient,” comments Pettitt. “This technology has the potential to have multiple applications beyond locating remote plant species, as Digital Owl is an effective way to conduct surveys. The Saving our Species team are now excited to survey using Digital Owl to locate other species.” “We are at the frontline of an existential battle where climate change is having a radical impact on native flora and fauna,” concludes Grenadier. “Having new tools such as Fujitsu Digital Owl gives us more than a fighting chance of protecting key plants and animals for future generations.