Grene Robotics, an innovation-led technology company that delivers Robots as a Service (RaaS), has been selected from India to compete with global companies/organisations and teams in the final round of the XPRIZE Rainforest Competition.
XPRIZE is a global leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s challenges and started the Rainforest Competition to improve the understanding of the rainforest ecosystem. The five-year XPRIZE Rainforest Competition is a call-to-action initiative to help save rainforests through the development of transformative, scalable, and affordable technology to autonomously survey and monitor biodiversity in near real-time leading to insights that communicate the health, well-being, and value of standing tropical rainforests while ensuring that competing teams co-design and co-create solutions with indigenous people and local communities as key stakeholders. The idea is also to create a business model that can be a beacon in bringing in the technology in conservation.
The competing teams will leverage the existing and emerging technologies such as robotics, drone (SWARM and TETHERED), nano drones with sensors (auditory, ultraviolet thermal, air samples), drones designed for sample collection (barks, water, soil, litter, leaves, fecal matter, moths, insects, etc), remote sensing, data analysis, artificial intelligence, DNA sample collection, Genome sequencing, and machine learning to develop new rainforest biodiversity survey tools that will deliver information more quickly, affordably and in unprecedented detail without physical human intrusion into the rainforest.
Grene Robotics Forest Conservation Dome
With over a decade in R&D, Grene Robotics’ Forest Conservation Dome is a fully autonomous solution that provides multi-spectral near real-time reconnaissance and surveillance of the forest. The solution, once deployed, can help fight modern-day threats, including unauthorized deforestation, wild forest fires, human encroachment, trespassing, smuggling, wildlife poaching, mitigate man-animal conflict, and track animal migration.
Speaking on being selected in the competition, Mr. Ahmed Chamanwala, Executive Director – Forest Conservation, Grene Robotics said, “It has become imperative to control the use, exploitation, and management of forests through sustainable planning. That can be resolved by bringing about a change in forest management and conservation practices by integrating technological innovations. At Grene Robotics, we have put in over a decade of R&D to develop autonomous solutions for forest conservation. Our experience with XPRIZE Rainforest Competition will help us refine our capabilities allowing us to build scalable and affordable technology to autonomously survey and monitor biodiversity in near real-time. This is going to be a game-changer. We are excited to be competing along with our partners – Fringe Ford, Field Projects International, and TRAK-TFRC.”
Grene Robotics entered the competition in association with Fringe Ford(rainforest landscape), Field Projects International(research group), and TRAK-TFRC(biodiversity/ conservation equipment). Fringe Ford is a 600 Acre private rewinding project in Wayanad, Kerala. Field Projects International (FPI) focuses on research, education, and conservation of forests. They monitor biodiversity and have been instrumental in field-based conservation genomics laboratories on three continents. They will be bringing in experts and scientists to collect relevant and essential data in the competition. TRAK-TFRC provides open-source technology that aids in large-scale, long-term wildlife research, conservation, and monitoring of the health of the ecosystems. All these technologies are Made in India and are extremely affordable.
Grene Robotics, in collaboration with its partners, has started deploying the technology on the ground across Fringe Ford’s landscape collecting data in near real-time. Fringe Ford is one of the largest privately-owned forests in India. The 600-acre property shares its boundaries with the Wayanad Tiger Reserve, Tholpetty Reserve Forest, and Arlam Tiger Reserve, making this entire stretch one of the last remaining bastions of the Malabar rainforests. However, the actual competition will be held only at a rainforest that XPRIZE chooses.
Why is this so important to India?
As the world advances with technology and most sectors are leapfrogging into the future, the forests in India are hugely ignored or are fighting a battle every day to protect and conserve what’s left of our open treasures. We at Grene Robotics would like to change that by bringing technology into conservation with a range of automated hardware, research partners, and conservation/ biodiversity equipment providers. Earlier, most of these technologies remained unaffordable due to the lack of funding. The time is right as most states today have the funding with CAMPA funds, and as prescribed by the CAMPA fund rule, 20% of this money will have to go towards “innovation and technology in the conservation of forests”. With this in mind, we entered the competition and hope that we will be able to showcase a totally ‘Make in India’ conservation product.