By Land, Sea and Space: How 5 Startups Are Using AI to Help Save the Planet

by Isha Salian

Different parts of the globe are experiencing distinct climate challenges — severe drought, dangerous flooding, reduced biodiversity or dense air pollution.

The challenges are so great that no country can solve them on their own. But innovative startups worldwide are lighting the way, demonstrating how these daunting challenges can be better understood and addressed with AI.

Here’s how five — all among the 10,000+ members of NVIDIA Inception, a program designed to nurture cutting-edge startups — are looking out for the environment using NVIDIA-accelerated applications:

Blue Sky Analytics Builds Cloud Platform for Climate Action

India-based Blue Sky Analytics is building a geospatial intelligence platform that harnesses satellite data for environmental monitoring and climate risk assessment. The company provides developers with climate datasets to analyze air quality and estimate greenhouse gas emissions from fires  — with additional datasets in the works to forecast future biomass fires and monitor water capacity in lakes, rivers and glacial melts.

The company uses cloud-based NVIDIA GPUs to power its work. It’s a founding member of Climate TRACE, a global coalition led by Al Gore that aims to provide high-resolution global greenhouse gas emissions data in near real time. The startup leads Climate TRACE’s work examining how land use and land cover change due to fires.

Rhions Lab Protects Wildlife With Computer Vision

Kenya-based Rhions Lab uses AI to tackle challenges to biodiversity, including human-wildlife conflict, poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking. The company is adopting NVIDIA Jetson Nano modules for AI at the edge to support its conservation projects.

One of the company’s projects, Xoome, is an AI-powered camera trap that identifies wild animals, vehicles and civilians — sending alerts of poaching threats to on-duty wildlife rangers. Another initiative monitors beekeepers’ colonies with a range of sensors that capture acoustic data, vibrations, temperature and humidity within beehives. The platform can help beekeepers monitor bee colony health and fend off threats from thieves, whether honey badgers or humans.

TrueOcean Predicts Undersea Carbon Capture and Storage

German startup TrueOcean analyzes global-scale maritime data to inform innovation around natural ocean carbon sinks, renewable energy and shipping route optimization. The company is using AI to predict and quantify carbon absorption and storage in seagrass meadows and subsea geology. This makes it possible to greatly increase the carbon storage potential of Earth’s oceans.

TrueOcean uses AI solutions, including federated learning accelerated on NVIDIA DGX A100 systems, to help scientists predict, monitor and manage these sequestration efforts.

ASTERRA Saves Water With GPU-Accelerated Leak Detection

ASTERRA, based in Israel, has developed AI models that analyze satellite images to answer critical questions around water infrastructure. It’s equipping maintenance workers and engineers with the insights needed to find deficient water pipelines, assess underground moisture and locate leaks. The company uses NVIDIA GPUs through Amazon Web Services to develop and run its machine learning algorithms.

Since deploying its leak detection solution in 2016, ASTERRA has helped the water industry identify tens of thousands of leaks, conserving billions of gallons of drinkable water each year. Stopping leaks prevents ground pollution, reduces water wastage and even saves power. The company estimates its solution has reduced the water industry’s energy use by more than 420,000 megawatt hours since its launch. Launches Renewable Energy-Powered AI Cloud

Another way to make a difference is by decreasing the carbon footprint of training AI models.

To help address this challenge, San Francisco-based Inception startup launched an NVIDIA DGX A100-powered AI cloud that’s powered entirely by geothermal and hydropower, with free-air cooling. Located in Iceland, the data center is being used for AI applications in telecommunications, retail, finance and healthcare.

The company has also developed a Green AI suite to help businesses monitor the environmental impact of AI projects, allowing developer teams to optimize compute usage to balance performance with carbon footprint.

Learn more about how GPU technology drives applications with social impact, including environmental projects. AI, data science and HPC startups can apply to join NVIDIA Inception.