A group of enterprising students from the UBC Sauder School of Business and the UBC Faculty of Applied Science are tackling the harmful effects of climate change in B.C.’s fruit orchards with the creative use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
In B.C.’s fruit-growing regions, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, grapes and apples typically thrive under sunny skies and warm temperatures, but last summer’s extreme heat resulted in scorched fruit and lost revenue for hundreds of farmers.
A team of students decided to explore this problem in New Venture Design (NVD), a course jointly offered by UBC Sauder and the UBC Faculty of Applied Science. Matt Bagley, a UBC Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) student specializing in marketing, participated in the market research. “After interviewing farmers in both B.C. and Washington State, we learned that an average orchard typically loses around 10 per cent of their yield in a regular year due to heat damage, causing a financial loss of almost $1,000 per acre,” says Bagley. “However, after losing up to 25 per cent of their yield last year because of record high temperatures, these farmers are bracing for things to get worse.”
The team began looking at the opportunity of using AI technology to monitor the surface temperature of tree fruit. They reached out to experts in the agricultural technology industry and refined their idea until they were ready to present it to their professors and peers. They called their business venture, Coolares.
Please visit the Sauder School of Business website to read the full story.
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