Mort & Co x Presien

Mort & Co x Presien

Author :
Presien team

Mort & Co is a leading beef cattle lot feeder and exporter of premium Australian agricultural products, employing over 300 team members and managing more than 215,000 cattle annually. Across a number of busy sites, Mort & Co operates a diverse portfolio of businesses, including fertilisers, farming, cottonseed oil, stockfeeds, transport, mechanics, beef exports, and grazing management.

As the largest privately owned beef cattle lot-feeding company in Australia, maintaining a healthy and safe environment is essential.

Beefing up safety

With an aptitude for innovation, the Mort & Co team wanted to explore how AI vision could enhance their business and safeguard their people.

For Caitlin Isaac, Workplace Health and Safety Manager at Mort & Co, this was an exciting step forward for the feed lotting industry.

“There are many moving parts at a feedlot. With unpredictable animals, people on-the-go, and machinery, we’re always looking for ways to improve safety. Implementing a new technology that could not only enhance our business but also benefit the industry at large was a great challenge.”

Blindsight by Presien is a simple, pre-trained AI vision system designed to prevent accidents by alerting vehicle operators and crew to objects in blind spots. In 2023, the team installed 12 Blindsight systems at its Grassdale site, home to a feedlot, fertiliser plant, and farming operation. 

Grassdale was chosen as the trial site due to its significant number of traffic movements and previous collision incidents. This made it a high-priority area for addressing and driving safety improvements. The systems were installed on front-end loaders to help keep people, animals, and machinery at a safe distance. 

Teaching AI to spot cows

Since its inception, Presien has worked closely with heavy industry businesses across sectors like construction, mining, and transport and logistics. These environments are high on people and machinery but low on cows! As cattle weren’t part of Presien’s AI training data set, work had to be done to ensure the technology was optimised for a new business and sector.

“At first, the AI vision was detecting cattle as humans from the legs down; you could say the model was a little bullheaded! Thankfully, Presien quickly updated the AI, so the technology is now fully customised to our work environment,” Caitlin explains.

Presien’s team of AI engineers worked closely with Mort & Co during the rollout phase to address false positives. Once alerted to the issue, the model was improved and updated. Now, the model effectively ignores cow legs while still identifying people, even those on horseback. Over-the-air updates and engineers with deep experience in computer vision and machine learning facilitated this swift turnaround.

An early false positive that Presien's AI engineers resolved

The right safety moooves

Blindsight detections are distilled into crucial video clips that capture the before, during, and after of each detection, alongside timestamps, risk analysis, and location data. Within three months of implementing Blindsight, critical detections were reduced by 65%.  

"As soon as we installed Blindsight, we gained a better understanding of our site. Plus, there were clear improvements in the team’s awareness of their surroundings. The automated reporting showed us that safety was improving with fewer critical detections. I think it’s something that could add huge value to other businesses within our industry,” Caitlin shares.

Following a successful pilot of Blindsight at Grassdale, Mort & Co committed to rolling out the system on all front-end loaders across its wholly-owned feedlot locations. This ensures that no matter where the loaders operate, the same safety features are available to protect its people, vehicles, and cattle. Mort & Co also incorporated awareness training into new employee inductions and updated pre-start checklists to include Blindsight system checks.

After rolling out Blindsight, Mort & Co was selected as a finalist for the Australian Workplace Health & Safety Awards 2024 for Best WHS Technology Deployment and Adoption.

Today, Blindsight is an extra level of safety relied upon by Caitlin and the entire Mort & Coteam, providing operator alerts, data for reporting, and benchmarks for workplace safety.

June 21, 2024

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