Canberra-based, Australian-owned Trellis Data says the new technology, known as the Biosecurity Automated Threat Detection System (BATDS) has been used to analyse shipping containers brought to shore, inspecting them for threats including invasive insects and pests which ‘hitchhike’ on shipping containers arriving from other countries, and could devastate Australia’s agriculture sector.
Australia’s biosecurity system protects $42 billion in inbound tourism, $53 billion in agricultural exports and 1.6 million Australian jobs.
Trellis Data says the BATDS system has successfully delivered complete surveillance across all containers, without slowing down the transport process - and the machine learning solution analysed over 1,700,000 images in the trial with 99% accuracy rate.
The sample revealed approximately 4% of containers coming into Australian ports have pests or contaminants that need to be removed before they arrive in Australia.
Given over 2.5 million containers came into Australia last year, that equates to approximately 100,000 expected to have required treatment, notes Trellis Data.
According to Trellis Data, the ability to now check every container, in real-time, provides a step change increase to Australia's biosecurity capability and digitising the inspection process for immediate cargo clearance is forecast to save the Department over 100,000 hours of effort per year.
The net present value of the biosecurity system is at $314 billion over 50 years ($30 ROI / dollar spent on biosecurity over the next 50 years).
Trellis Data CEO, Michael Gately said: “The Australian Government already takes a strong stance on biosecurity, but we know that the amount of risk materials being intercepted at our borders have been increasing in recent years.”
“This new technology will deliver 100 per cent surveillance across the nation’s container ports to stop invasive pests from breaching biosecurity’s processes, and the destruction of our precious food basins. The result will be world leading biosecurity detection - to secure not only Australia’s agriculture industry, but that of other leading agricultural countries.”
BADTS enables the detection of invasive species that are less than 10 millimetres in size, making it a “world-first”.
The technology allows pests to be detected on the outside of every container that is transported from ship to shore in Australia and it has the same detection capability for any internal container inspections required by biosecurity authorities.
“The software works in all environments 24/7, identifying pests in real-time. Not only does it identify pests, it explains its reason for the identification and ensures all detections are correctly associated with the individual container ID,” says Trellis Data.
Trellis Data recently completed a funding round for growth capital, led CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures, and aims to build on this success further with plans for international expansion later in 2021.