A BELFAST company which has harnessed the capabilities of advanced artificial intelligence to deliver the world’s first hardware independent autonomous livestock monitoring platform, has been given a significant cash injection by a group of global venture capitalists.
CattleEye (its founder Terry Canning was also the farmer behind software firm FarmWizard, which was eventually acquired by the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estate), has signed off on a $2.5 million (about £1.8 million) seed investment.
The funding round was a syndicate led by Techstart Ventures and including Paris-based VC Seventure Partners and Turntide Technologies, a Silicon Valley venture backed by Amazon.
CattleEye uses machine vision AI which provides automatic inspections and analysis for machinery.
The investment will be used to bring to market the start-up’s autonomous livestock welfare and performance monitoring product.
The technology will increase animal welfare levels and reduce carbon emission intensity by around 0.5 tonne per cow per year.
The first version of the product detects locomotion deviations, which are highly correlated to lameness in dairy cows and is thought to be the first of its kind to undergo successful academic validation by a leading UK university.
The results of this study, due to be released next month, will conclude that CattleEye “outperformed an expert human” in the detection of lesions in lame dairy cows.
Ryan Morris, chief executive of Turntide Technologies said: “Our company’s mission is to ‘turn the tide’ on climate change, and CattleEye fits that by reducing dairy cow carbon emission intensity using camera technology that requires no hardware or devices to be attached to a cow.”
Terry Canning, who founded CattleEye in 2019, said: “We're excited to be bringing this latest in deep learning and AI technology to one of oldest industries in world, livestock farming.
“This investment will give us the fire power to increase productivity, animal welfare and decrease the carbon footprint of millions of dairy cows across the globe.”
CattleEye is planning a commercial launch later this year, and its technology is currently being used by a group of pioneer dairy farms along with UK retailers Tesco and Marks & Spencer.
The US Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) is also utilising the technology to explore how CattleEye data can be used in genomic selection to help improve overall hoof health in dairy cows worldwide.