February 11, 2020

Artificial Intelligence Used To Track Saskatchewan Waste

Following a province-wide competition, Innovation Saskatchewan today unveiled new technologies to track how much solid waste is generated in the province and where it all goes.

The solutions will be beneficial to the government’s efforts announced in January to reduce solid waste dumped into landfills by 30 per cent by 2030.

“Our tech community has developed a tracking and reporting mechanism using artificial intelligence which can reduce the expense of landfill operations and lead to long-term environmental efficiencies,” Innovation Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said.

Innovation Saskatchewan first identified the two technologies in 2019 through an Innovation Challenge, which encourages provincial technology companies to find inventive solutions to public issues:

  • Prairie Robotics integrated artificial intelligence and cameras to capture waste data in real time and automatically generate reports from across the province.
  • Researchers at the University of Regina created a system, optimized for Saskatchewan’s extreme weather, to weigh moving vehicles.

Each winner received $10,000 in funding and a 16-week residency to develop their innovation in collaboration with government, before demonstrating the solutions in Regina.

“Artificial intelligence eliminates human errors and bias,” Prairie Robotics Sam Dietrich said.  “Our system means better tracking of waste across urban and rural Saskatchewan, which can lead to better management.”

The provincial government’s Solid Waste Management Strategy released in January found that every Saskatchewan resident produces an average of 842 kilograms of trash per year – the second highest per capita among Canadian provinces.

“The technologies brought forward through our Innovation Challenges are answering challenges we face in Saskatchewan and providing solutions that can be used around the world,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.

Find previous Innovation Challenge winners and program information at https://innovationsask.ca/initiatives/innovation-challenge/previous-innovation-challenges.