Saving the Desert with AI and Drones

Apr 20, 2023

A team of wildlife conservationists — with the help of Intel — are scouring the desert floor in Scottsdale, Arizona, to eliminate an environmental threat called buffelgrass.

​In a 30,000-acre wilderness desert preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona, drones occasionally fly overhead to search for an invasive plant species that causes wildfires and chokes and kills nearby native plants.

The environmental threat is buffelgrass.

Employees and volunteers in the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy — with the help of Intel — are using drones and AI to scour the desert floor to find and eliminate the non-native grass. What would take conservancy volunteers years to document though painstaking field work, aerial drone surveys and AI processing can accomplish in hours.

Intel engineers developed an AI algorithm that quickly detects unique features of the plants, including their color, distribution, shape and density.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better.
May 28, 2023