Trial of AI invasive pest recognition launches in Australia container terminal

DP World Brisbane Terminal to trial Trellis Data auto recognition cameras on all imports from high risk countries

A six-month trial is starting to see if cameras and software can detect invasive pests entering Australia from container ships. The trial will see an Australian company, Trellis Data, install cameras in the DP World Australia’s Brisbane terminal to detect potential invasive insects and other pests as containers are offloaded.

 

The trial will see whether automated detection software, similar to facial recognition software Trellis currently markets, can be used to identify potential risks on the outside of containers before they are allowed into the country.

 

The work is being funded by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. Australia has some of the toughest import regulations in the world to prevent the accidental import, or colonisation of invasive species, both on land and in its waters.

 

The Biosecurity Automated Threat Detection Systems trial will asses whether machine learning and AI can be effective tools in the country’s battle against invasions, and the trials will run for about six months from mid-June 2022.

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Under the trial, government biosecurity officers will inspect all containers being imported from the department’s Country Action list, This is a list of about 42, mainly African, Asian and Pacific countries that Australia has identified as having documented high levels of high risk pests. Some non-CAL import containers will also be inspected to verify the accuracy of the images captured by the Trellis system.

 

The Australian department of environment said, in a notice to importers and shippers, that “if successful, this technology could allow the department to screen more containers and only intervene on those with an identified biosecurity risk. This would be a more efficient screening process and reduce unnecessary delays for importers of goods arriving in clean containers.”

 

The trial comes after Trellis won a AU$1m grant in 2020 under the Australian Government Business Research and Innovation Initiative to develop a proof of concept.

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