Hortiya – indoor farming with AI

Hortiya – indoor farming with AI

"Indoor farming is the answer to the question of how we can feed a growing population even in times of rising temperatures and droughts", says Timo Hoffmann, Co-Founder Hortiya.

As part of the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge, ProjectTogether is looking for solutions for climate-positive agriculture and nutrition. Hortiya provides one of these solutions: The start-up wants to fundamentally change the way food is grown in indoor farming. To do this, Hortiya uses Artificial Intelligence in combination with their sensor technology to identify the current needs of plants and provide them with the right resources at the right time to enable the most efficient growth.

Use of sensor technology and AI

Indoor cultivation, which provides the food industry with consistent and good quality year-round, is only possible in many regions of the world through intensive artificial lighting of the plants. Due to inflexible process control and a lack of feedback to the already existing natural conditions, such as sunlight, the plants there typically receive more resources than they can actually process. This leads to unnecessarily high energy consumption, which is not only bad for the environment, but also results in enormous costs for the operators.

The Hortiya team. (Photo: Hortiya)

With its AI-as-a-service and its first product, the SVL growth light (special plant lighting), Hortiya solves this problem by adapting the light spectrum and intensity to the current needs of the plant. To do this, it uses its sensor technology in conjunction with its Greenhouse AI. The goal: to use natural resources to the fullest and give the plants only what they can process at the moment.

This plant-centric approach is the cornerstone of the development of the highly efficient, autonomous greenhouses of the future, in which factors such as light, climate and irrigation are automatically optimised by the plants’ feedback to get the most out of them with minimal use of resources. According to its own information, Hortiya can already save 30 percent of the energy used for lighting compared to conventional LED grow lights.

For operators of indoor farming facilities and research institutes, such a solution means, on the one hand, growing plants under constantly optimal conditions while at the same time reducing energy consumption, and, on the other hand, the extensive automation provided by Horitya’s AI-as-a-Service offerings also leads to less time spent evaluating and caring for the plants.


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About the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge

In the spirit of the European Green Deal, the Farm-Food-Climate Challenge has sought 100+ approaches to climate-positive agriculture and nutrition. For the challenge, the ProjectTogether team and partners drew on the experience and networks from the successful #WirVsVirus hackathon. Around 28,000 people took part in the world’s largest hackathon within 48 hours and worked together on over 1,500 solutions to the challenges of our time. Over 150 projects subsequently made their way into implementation.

Similarly, the Farm-Food-Climate-Challenge offers a platform for innovative initiatives from society that want to create sustainable development along the entire value chain of the agricultural and food sector. Designers of tomorrow’s ecologically and economically sustainable world were invited to submit their ideas and solutions by the end of July 2020. Together with experts and partners from business, politics and civil society, ideas were then tested and validated in practice for nine months. Like the #WirVsVirus Hackathon, the Challenge is supported by the Vodafone Institute.