As innovation and technology advance in leaps and bounds across the world, artificial intelligence is having an impact on our daily lives.
Two of the winning start-ups in Start-up Express International, the global edition of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's (HKTDC) entrepreneurship development programme, offer AI solutions for food preservation and factory production.
Saudi Arabian start-up Uvera developed a food preservation system to greatly reduce waste, while Yangtze River Delta start-up Shanghai Youyun Information Technology's AI supports factory production.
Dr Asrar Damdam, Founder and CEO of Uvera, pointed out that Uvera, founded in 2019, is a clean-tech start-up committed to solving the global problem of food waste through AI and Internet of Things (AIoT) solutions.
The Aurora food preservation instrument developed by the company irradiates food parcels with ultraviolet radiation and vacuum seals it in 30 seconds to preserve the shelf life of fresh produce, meat and even baked goods without any chemical preservatives. The average extension of shelf life was 97%.
The Aurora system could extend the shelf life of strawberries as many as three times, Dr Damdam said. “We also provide an application for customers to check the status of the food, and when the food is close to its expiry date, the app will remind people to eat as soon as possible to avoid wasting food.”
Earlier, the company also launched a successful fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. Last year, the firm won the Food Security award at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in recognition of their use of innovative technology to maintain food security.
In 2024, Aurora is launching a fresh round of seed fundraising, mainly for production, hiring, marketing, scientific research and other expenses.
Innovative AI has greatly improved production efficiency. Noting the varied needs of many factories, Youyun launched AI and 5G based manufacturing system solutions and is committed to helping a range of factories upgrade and transform processes.
The company’s Chief Technology Officer Qian Wei said: “Our core technology is AI industrial machine vision equipment and supporting solutions, which can be widely used in various intelligent manufacturing industrial production lines.
"We also provide customers with services, including 5G network construction, a series of integrated programmes, such as server construction and data platforms. Last year, we became the supervisory unit of the Shanghai Intelligent Manufacturing Industry Association, supervised by the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission, and fully promote the intelligent transformation of local industries.”
Youyun's current customer base covers 300 companies in the Yangtze River Delta region, mainly engaged in new materials, chemicals, biomedicine, food processing and vehicle parts.
The company firmly believes that as the Mainland China government officially designates Shanghai, Nantong, Huzhou and other Yangtze River Delta regions as “smart factory diagnostic consulting and transformation service providers”, companies' demand for smart manufacturing upgrades and transformation will grow.
Youyun is currently conducting Series B financing and is expected to raise RMB10 million (US$1.4 million), which would be used for marketing, product research and operations management.