The European Commission has awarded Israel’s sterile insect technology company (SIT) Senecio Robotics $ 12 million to help control mosquito-borne diseases. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the company has developed a mobile automated mosquito factory to monitor and control the disease-transmitting insects. The $ 12 million includes equity and grant components.
SIT is well established for many other insects like fruit flies, but mosquitoes are more of a challenge because of their large numbers. Senecio Robotics used AI to get the job done.
Hanan Lepek, Founder and CEO of Senecio Robotics, said: “The first step in controlling mosquitoes is understanding their frequency. Previously, mosquitoes caught in traps have been counted individually and classified by experts. Senecio is developing an AI-driven solution, the keys automates parts of the process that allow interested parties to get a quick and accurate understanding of local mosquito distribution.The solution has also attracted interest from agricultural companies interested in monitoring insects that have an impact on agriculture.
He continues, “Next comes the production of sterile males, including automated larval feeding, enumeration and sorting. Within a few days, the larva develops into pupae before turning into sterile adult male mosquitoes that can be released. Currently Both Senecio automated doll sorters and AI-based sex separators and adult packaging are being validated at partner locations in the US. “
“We have worked hard over the past few years and believe that we have solved what it takes for operators to take full advantage of SIT. Our portfolio includes the full range of solutions from monitoring and pooling (collecting tests for dead mosquitoes ) for potential viruses), for production and release. This is provided both as stand-alone modules to solve the individual requirements of the partners and as a turnkey mosquito factory that fulfills the requirements from end to end.
“We are already in discussions with select health and local authorities, as well as prospective dealers who are all excited about the technology. We are currently looking for locations to create a fully functional demo site.”
“The Senecio sorting solution includes image processing systems for the identification and extraction of adult women. At the exit of the factory, small transporters pick up the filled cartridges, which are ready for release in the city. The release technology was invented back in 2014 and tested on-site trials in 2015 as well Patents granted in multiple countries for the release of vans, drones, airplanes and hand releases. The release plan is managed by our mission planning algorithm, which is also an authorized patent and automatically integrates imported data from the surveillance solution. “
“Partners can use their own method of sterilization as we don’t care and can either use X-ray, Wolbachia, IIT, RNAi, CRISPER, or whatever option works best for them.
“Our automated monitoring solution as well as the second generation sorting and packaging of Senecio are expected to be delivered to our partners in the summer of 2021. The first full end-to-end demo site will be demonstrated before the end of next year. The regulatory work is already ongoing and has received positive feedback from regulators who are pleased with the use of our technology.
“In short, our partners will be able to incorporate every part of the solution into their current process, from automated monitoring or gender segregation to a full-fledged robot factory operating in their facility with a production capacity of millions per week to potential campaigns to support.” The solution is deployed over time for an initial setup fee plus subscription, making the SIT affordable and accessible.
“This exciting milestone brings us closer to our bold vision of a world free from mosquito-borne disease.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on December 16, 2020
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