Pact inked for use of drones, Al in date palms project

Muscat: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for the use of drones and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to facilitate the One Million Date Palm Trees Project on Monday.

The pact was signed by Oman Technology Fund (OTF) and the Diwan of Royal Court at the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) under the auspices of His Excellency Dr Ali Masoud al Sunaidi, the Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Two companies, Haitech.D and Modern Innovation Land, in which OTF has invested, will provide the project with aerial photography and data analysis services for farms created for the project.

“We are deploying the capabilities of young Omani men and women into a very important sector, which is 1million date palm trees, which will be increased to eight million,” said Dr Al Sunaidi.

“This can set an example on how to use technology for the benefit of the country. Added to it is the involvement of Omani women graduates who will analyse data and help people through the project.”

Dr Al Sunaidy also said this technology will be used in several areas, including mining, tourism, fisheries, etc. “This is just the beginning.”

These two companies, which are specialised in integrating drone technology with AI, will facilitate collection of data and their transfer into actionable insights that will contribute the required database for project development.

“These companies will diagnose and report diseases and pests in the date palm trees,” noted Yousuf Al Harthy, CEO, OTF.

OTF, which invests in pilot ideas and projects in technology-driven industry, runs three investment programmes: PreSeed program (Techween), accelerator programme (Wadi Accelerator) and growth program (Jasoor).

It also invests in entrepreneurs who have ideas and projects of a high-growth potential in the technology and innovation industry.

Saif bin Rashid al Shaksi, Head of the 1 Million Date Palm Project, said this ambitious project will also be a job creator for thousands of Omani youth.