Animals.ai is a student research spin-off from Lund University. Yuan, the co-founder, has a background in urban planning and AI. She wanted to discover what one could do in rural communities, using computer vision and other interesting applications, says Rose, her co-founder, and CEO at Animals.ai.

Yuan started to think about how computer vision could improve human vision to help people observe cattle.

–Supported by SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp, Yuan soon started researching, says Rose. She got funding from Vinnova to figure out what challenges farmers have with cattle.

Yuan wanted to see how machine learning and computer vision could be used to keep an eye on things and to prevent issues that farmers face with their livestock.

Working with the animal care program at the high school Nils Holgersson in Skurup, the team found out about typical problems and needs, from the human perspective as well as the cows’.

–In a herd of animals, you need to follow every single animal’s health. As humans, we try to figure out how an animal is doing by looking at how they behave. If an animal is limping, that says something. Other signs may prove that the animal is malnourished. Taking care of animals is a lot about understanding their health, says Rose. Observing animals is a huge part of a farmer’s work. Just like an old saying goes, it’s the eyes of the farmers that fatten their animals.

Cameras and computer vision can effectively help observe and analyze animal behavior, studying behavioral change patterns.

Yuan started her company supported by VentureLab and developed a prototype that was tried out at Nils Holgersson.

Rose Huang, CEO

–I joined in 2019, as a student studying in Lund University, an intern in marketing, and later on, took the role of co-founder in the company, Rose says. Her role is now to work with operations and marketing at Animals.ai.

During the pandemic, the team carried out field research and developed. This meant collaborating with farmers and discussing with representatives from the farming industry to understand it as well as to understand challenges and needs.

Until now, Animal.aihas collected data from over 20 farms. The data would validate the ideas that they had about observing animals using computer vision as well as having software analyze and present the data for farmers to read.

The concept is to use AI to give farmers actionable insights through monitoring animal behaviors on both individual and herd levels.

–The challenge farmers have is that observing the animals is entirely up to them, Rose explains. Keeping an eye out for potential issues or problems the animals may be suffering from takes a lot of energy from the farmers. They constantly need to watch the animals to understand what may be lacking or needed.

–As herds are getting bigger, this is getting more and more challenging for farmers. They work hard, and observing animals is time-consuming, says Rose. In an ideal situation, a farmer knows who in the herd is who, what each of them is doing, and how well one is doing, and draws conclusions about irregularities you may need to address.

Animal.ai has developed a solution that mimicks farmers’ eyes and know-how. It observes, analyses, and reports, to help prevent and find abnormalities through patterns that can be read from the animal’s activities.

–As a farmer, you get access to a dashboard that guides you. It gives you the information you need to be able to address problems or even know about them before they develop.

A Solution Ready for Market in Place

After a year in VentureLab, Animals.ai joined the incubation program at Ideon. Now, the team developed their second solution that is ready for the market.

In the past year, Animal.ai has started to gain international recognition.

–We are getting more and more involved in the industry itself, Rose says. We departed from the academy and tech. But, we know that we can never make a true impact without rooting in the livestock industry. This is why we need to know all there is to know about it.

–Since 2023, we have a new co-founder Teun, who has an extensive background in the cattle industry and understands what today’s farmers need.

The team is soon launching its third product, ‘Djurvakt calving alert’.

–It is an Edge-AI system that will work even with bad connectivity.

What Happens Now

The team aims to grow its European market to test the market with two different business models.

According to Rose, the competition is limited globally with a handful of other similar players.

–Animal.ai is challenging the status quo daily, says Rose, and will move on to other types of animals and behaviors in the long run. We will first focus on at large rumination animals, she says, to see how they react to their surroundings and how they eat their food for example.

Looking into developing the next-generation sensors, the team has realized many things that have not traditionally been studied.

–We have a massive amount of data, she says.

Animal.ai helps farmers make decisions based on data. Animal.ai keeps carrying out research projects feeding in information from the farmers with what they need and are looking for.

Contrary to what many may think, farmers are very positive about using AI as a tool to help them in their daily work lives and have no problem acknowledging or adopting new technology.

The team is also preparing its seed round fundraising now to be able to serve international customers.

Get in touch: CEO Rose Huang

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