#CLEANMALTA AI Hackathon
Written by Adelaide Grixti
In late 2020, MITA set up a new Applied Research function responsible for kick-starting innovative proof-of-concept projects (POCs) that solve existing and practical business problems, and promote the practical take-up of emerging technologies, by both public administration and MITA as the beneficiaries.
A number of these POC projects focus on the use of AI technology to automate processes which are laborious. In line with this initiative, MITA teamed up with The Ministry of Tourism and Consumer Protection in conjunction with the Cleansing and Maintenance Division, Microsoft and European Space Imaging and organised a CleanMalta AI Virtual Hackathon last December 2021 to develop a solution to detect litter in rural areas of Malta with satellite data.
During this hackathon key experts in the field, grouped in teams of up to 5 members and made use of high-resolution satellite imagery data to detect and determine the type of litter and bulky refuse in hardly accessible rural areas. Satellite imagery data was further enhanced using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) models. The teams also provided recommendations for future technologies towards a more sustainable environment.
The benefits of applying such technologies will make it possible to maintain a cleaner rural environment by ensuring proper cleansing interventions in a timely manner. This Hackathon was a successful experiment and the Cleansing and Maintenance Division within the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection will be pursuing to closely explore further this technology and combining other technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (commonly referred to as drones) to create a future roadmap for implementation.
Euchar Sultana – CIO MTCP:
The #CleanMalta AI hackathon was a great experience whereby we enabled a safe space to innovate and design solutions at small scale to address the challenge using new and emerging technologies. It was also a great opportunity to collaborate with key experts in the field to advance and accelerate work in finding smart and innovative solutions.
Anela Huskovic / Yannis Zisos – Microsoft:
The #CleanMalta AI hackathon has been a great success and characteristic example of the thriving results that derive from the collaboration between a modern government and technology companies. As Microsoft, our scope is to help and enable our customers to achieve more and we are proud to have achieved this goal with MITA and the Maltese Ministry of Tourism, . The specific AI Hackathon has been one of the crucial steps towards the vision of Malta to become the AI Launchpad. We would like to thank all the participant teams, the partner companies and of course our colleagues from MITA and Ministry of Tourism and Microsoft who showed expertise, motivation and growth mindset that led to thriving results.
Lenti Team (Winning team):
“The CleanMalta AI Hackathon was the perfect opportunity for our team to combine our passion for AI with our ethical consideration of the environment. Some of us have participated in cleanups and have witnessed first hand the amounts of garbage that litter our environment. Now in the hackathon, the competition sponsors provided us with cutting edge tools and resources to propose larger scale sustainable solutions to tackle the problem in new ways. In addition to this, the hackathon was very well organised, allowing our team to work seamlessly across 3 countries and have a memorable learning experience.”
“It was a great pleasure for us to compete in the CleanMalta AI Computer Vision Virtual Hackathon, a truly awesome initiative. Even though the journey was not easy, the overall experience was deeply rewarding, as we had the chance to come up with an end-to-end solution that can help Malta preserve its uniquely beautiful natural assets.”
“We are tremendously inspired by this project in line with Presagis’ vision to create a more predictive world helping people to fight against climate change. Presagis team has worked to provide a powerful solution based on Artificial intelligence, Deep Learning, Computer Vision with innovative solutions to the challenge posed. It was the opportunity to work on a worldwide problem of pollution with incredible partners. Thanks to all of them to make it real!”