Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

An AI learns to spot tree species, with help from a drone

A consumer-grade drone can take photos of trees from above that are good enough to train a deep-learning algorithm to tell different species apart.

Details: The team behind the project flew drone over a forest in Kyoto, Japan, to take photos and then divided some of them into seven categories: six types of trees and one called “others,” for images that captured bare land or buildings.

Results: After some fiddling, the algorithm (which was on an earth-bound computer) achieved 89 percent accuracy overall.

Why it matters: Forest surveys typically use expensive systems outfitted with lidar or specialized cameras. This commercially available setup could be a cheap way to automate tree surveys, and the algorithm could be retrained to aid in disaster response, check pipelines for leaks, or help with other monitoring efforts that need to quickly cover a large area.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

What’s next for AI in 2024

Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year

OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora

The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.

Google’s Gemini is now in everything. Here’s how you can try it out.

Gmail, Docs, and more will now come with Gemini baked in. But Europeans will have to wait before they can download the app.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.