Automated Forest Restoration

27 May 2021

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Dear Reader,  

Forest restoration has the potential to reverse land degradation through restoration or rehabilitation of degraded land. It can be a climate change mitigation strategy, and could provide other co-benefits, including increasing forest productivity, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. It provides aesthetic and socio-cultural benefits, such as the potential to improve the livelihoods and resilience of forest-dependent communities.  

Zurich based, GainForest, uses artificial intelligence to reverse deforestation. Its algorithms analyze data from satellites, drones and field monitoring to measure sustainable land use. It’s an app that aims to help maintain and restore forests. GainForest gets funding from the crypto community to provide finance to community members if they maintain their patch of land for an agreed duration. The GainForest team uses publicly available data from Global Forest Watch to monitor and evaluate community success. It is also developing advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to help forecast future forest cover. 

Flash Forest is Canada’s first-to-market and largest drone reforestation company using UAV hardware, aerial mapping software, automation, and biological seed-pod technology to reforest the planet at a rapid pace. It is a reforestation company that aims to plant at 10 times the normal rate and at a fraction of the cost of traditional tree planting techniques. With drone engineering, it brings new levels of accuracy, precision and speed to the reforestation industry. By 2028, the start-up aims to plant a full 1 billion trees. 

Brazil based startup, Treevia, has developed a remote forest-monitoring system called SmartForest. It connects forests around the world into the internet to ensure more sustainable use of natural resources. The solutions offered by SmartForest include digital asset registration systems, forest research using high-precision data, hazard assessment and specialised forestry consultation.  

Satelligence helps companies achieve a deforestation-free sourcing and production of palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soy, and other commodities. Building on artificial intelligence, satellite technology and supply chain data, the company provides daily insights into the global performance of agricultural production and supply chain risks. Satelligence maps and monitors forests, planted palm areas, deforestation, and fire impact. 

Deforestation and forest degradation continue to take place at alarming rates, which contributes significantly to the ongoing loss of biodiversity. As per Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations the area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990. Current deforestation rates worldwide are unsustainable. Efficient and quality reforestation techniques are essential to rapidly implement solutions to our global ecological crisis.

Credits : Akhil Handa Manisha Gawle

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AI-powered Legal Tech.

From how we buy our groceries to how we conduct banking transactions, almost every aspect of our lives is being disrupted with continuous advancements in technology. Even traditional, not-so-tech-savvy industries like legal services are joining the tech bandwagon. As per research by CB Insights, legal tech startups have raised over $ 700 mn in funding since 2011. Leveraging emerging technologies like AI & ML, variety of tech-enabled start-ups are devising new and interesting ways to connect consumers to the legal ecosystem.
Generally, it has been observed that the full gamut of AI’s capabilities are best utilized when digitized documents are available. With the Supreme Court digitizing a whopping 10 million pages and records of civil appeals this year, AI is increasingly being adopted by numerous law firms. For example, AI-based products can be applied in prioritisation of pending cases, summarising court proceedings and improving the quality of research.
Some firms like NearLaw have developed legal market places using AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to help lawyers and legal professionals access legal information. It has also developed AI-enabled case-law research tools driven by summarisation algorithms coupled with machine learning to rank the cases using Case Ranking. Such tools enable lawyers to know which cases are better suited to be cited in the courts over others and also provide analytics on how the network of cases are inter-related.
While other firms are leveraging AI to offer virtual legal research assistants like CaseIQ, which automate mundane tasks, reducing research time from anywhere between 5% to 50% of what is normally needed on legacy system. Even Judges can upload both the appellant’s counsel’s submission and the respondent’s counsel’s submission directly into CaseIQ and within seconds see whether both parties are missing out on any important precedents that are important to the case, enabling them to quickly take into account the whole body of applicable law before ruling.
Similarly, SpotDraft has developed an artificial intelligence-powered platform that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to automate drafting and negotiating legal contracts. It provides solutions to complex legal dealings, including drafting, managing and storing paperwork online, analysing contracts and automating invoices, besides sending reminders and offering expert advice on legal compliances. Even legal firms such as Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas are now leveraging the power of AI for contract analysis and review by adopting Canada-based machine learning legal system Kira.
Although AI can prove to be useful in predicting what documents will be relevant to a case, we feel that AI will not replace lawyers but will augment their abilities. It has the potential to make them more productive, efficient and aware about their domain of work.
Credits : Akhil Handa

Automobile Commerce

Dear Reader, 
The auto industry has been facing the heat to move digital more than ever as the pandemic has brought upon new challenges and deepened the need to shift toward digital solutions. Auto dealers have been slow to adopt digital car-buying solutions, but with lockdowns closing dealership doors, the pandemic accelerated the shift to omni-channel auto retail. 
Online car buying has taken off in a big way during the pandemic. According to Publicis Sapient, many digitally enabled OEMs are seeing increased, higher quality leads that are 30 percent more likely to buy and a two to four-fold surge in website traffic compared with pre-COVID-19. These online tools are, in some instances, responsible for more than 20 percent of new leads during the second quarter of 2020. 
More recently, a number of digitally focused disruptors such as Carvana, Carmax and Tesla have entered the market, offering unique, omni-channel experiences like flexible return policies, virtual auctions, home deliveries, online negotiation and virtual trade-in valuations. These digital leaders recognized a shift in customer expectations and focused on creating seamless user experiences across the entire shopping journey. 
Online used car seller Vroom noticed a considerable growth in demand as a result of the pandemic, with people turning to digital methods for purchasing cars. Similar to its competitor Carvana, Vroom offers no-haggle pricing and a no-questions-asked return policy. Another Used car marketplace Shift Technologies went public via SPAC in October 2020. Shift allows users to buy, sell and finance cars online. The company offers a "buy it now" option that allows a buyer to purchase a vehicle online without a test drive. Similarly, Cazoo, a UK based company, sells refurbished cars online, delivers them to customers' homes within 48 hours, and offers a seven-day free returns policy. 
Then there are digital platforms that help the dealerships move their businesses online. Take for example, Modal which makes software for car dealerships to move the entire buying process online. Another company, Digital Motors builds a car-buying platform for auto retailers, dealerships, brands and manufacturers. 
The new car ownership model of subscription offers ease and convenience to customers like never before. Switzerland-based Carvolution offers car subscriptions where Customers pay a monthly price for a vehicle and are free to switch cars as they like. 
We believe that, the winners in this industry will be defined by how quickly they adapt to technological innovations. The dealers and OEMs who adjust can thrive, while those reluctant to change will fall further behind. 
Credits : Akhil Handa,Aparna Anand

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