Flemish Bee Institute wants to help save bees with AI
The Flemish Bee Institute (VBI), hogeschool PXL and the company Plantsoon have developed 'Buzzwatch', a project that uses artificial intelligence to prevent pollinator deaths in winter. The project aims to support the recovery of bees in Flanders by mapping bee populations and roadside plants in order to optimise the placement of beehives and the management of roadsides.
Every winter, beekeepers have to wait and see if the honeybees have survived. Last winter, beekeepers experienced local bee mortality of up to 80 per cent. If honeybees are doing badly, all pollinators are doing badly, according to the VBI.
The AI models map roadside observation plots based on aerial imagery, and provide plant recognition in those roadsides based on citizen photos. "By mapping bee populations and carrier plants, we can match supply and demand at any time of the year," the plan states.
"We have the science and knowledge. The company Plantsoon will provide the app where citizens can easily record their observations with the photo they take. Only the financial side needs to be tackled, as the development costs are around 150,000 euros," explains René De Backer, president of the VBI.
The VIB wants to test the project in Nijlen, Antwerp, a municipality with a high bee mortality rate and nearby heathland and fens.
Votes for this citizen science project can be cast until noon on 3 November via amai.vlaanderen, a website that aims to inform citizens about AI and involve them in the development of new AI applications in Flanders. The proposals with the most votes will receive up to €125,000 to build the AI solution.
#FlandersNewsService | © Nicolas TUCAT / AFP