Norbert Rotter, CEO of Itelligence, said, “I’m delighted that SAP is honoring Itelligence as a ‘Process Innovator’ with an SAP Innovation Award for an intelligent environmental protection project in this high-caliber worldwide competition. SAP recognizing us as a good example of the smart use of digitization makes me very proud. It will serve as a special incentive for us to warrant this trust in the future as well.”
“Drones photograph the landscape and a previously trained and optimized algorithm processes the image data automatically and detects the weeds,” said Mark Albrecht, Global Head of Innovation Technologies at Itelligence. “This involves products from the SAP innovation portfolio among others.”
The Itelligence Project
Itelligence Denmark, Itelligence Innovation Technologies, and NTT Data Japan conducted the environmental protection project. The project uses drones to loom for giant hogweed; a plant with huge, deeply lobed leaves that can reach up to 15 feet in height.
The sap from these leaves causes photosensitivity in people’s skin, potentially resulting in serious skin inflammation. The plant is a highly invasive species. Therefore, land and forest owners have a duty to uproot the plants in order to eradicate them.
Even though the weed is quite large, it is laborious and time-consuming to scan for it by eye. “We have automated this process by using drones to photograph the landscape and then examining the vegetation in the photographs,” explains Albrecht. “When the image recognition detects giant hogweed, we mark the place on a map.”
Besides the drones, the project uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data technologies. “The greatest challenge was to supply the algorithm with sufficient images to train the neural network to recognize the plant,” remembers Albrecht.
Itelligence collaborated with the Danish drone manufacturer ProDrone and involved four Danish town councils on the project. The users update the existing mapping of the weed with the results of their IT-based image recognition. They can then use the information to carry out control work.