From Business Analytics to Sustainable Solutions: Innovative Uses of AI in the South West

Contributing upwards of £3.7 billion to the UK economy in 2022, AI is a rapidly growing field, with the potential to transform the way we incorporate technology into our lives. 

From the mundane to the breathtaking, artificial intelligence has a wide range of applications ranging from complex machine learning to personal assistants (hi Alexa!).

This blog post shines a light on four innovative companies embracing the possibilities of AI across the South West.

The Small Robot Company

Paving – or rather ploughing – the way for the fourth agricultural revolution, the Small Robot Company in Salisbury is an innovative agri-tech firm presenting AI as an ecologically harmonious solution to the global farming crisis. 

With a recent UN report predicting a 60% increase in the rate of food production will be required to feed the earth’s population in 2050, current agricultural methods are becoming increasingly inefficient and unsustainable as topsoil erosion, herbicide resistance and burgeoning machinery costs are affecting global yields.

In response to this issue, and using their AI-driven method of ‘Per Plant farming’, the Small Robot Company has developed a new style of agricultural management that is efficient, profitable and more ecologically harmonious. Using AI technology to ascertain the needs of each individual plant, the Small Robot Company has created robots that produce treatment maps that inform farmers of the exact amount of pesticide and water needed for each section of the field. Preventing the overuse of pesticide/water, ‘Per Plant Farming’ saves both time and money whilst also being kinder to the environment.

Presenting their ‘Tom V4’ robot for sale in June 2023, the Small Robot Company is a world leading example of AI’s potential for future-proofed farming.


In Devon, the Exeter-based company Klarian has patented AI technology to boost the efficiency of pipelines all across the world. With almost 1000 km of pipeline laying under the UK alone, Klarian has harnessed the potential of AI to manage and support this hugely important fuel network.

Using their ‘Digipipe’ technology, Klarian has created an intelligent method of data-capture that can identify issues, forecast demand and enhance the reliability of pipelines. Accessible both on-site and remotely, Digipipe is marketed as an ‘end-to-end solution that goes from pipe to screen’.

As well as promoting sustainability through increased efficiency, Digipipe is also working to ensure pipeline adaptability for the pivot towards emerging technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen.


With more than half of UK insurance executives now investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the award-winning Exeter based company IntelligentAI is at the forefront of the insur-tech industry.

In an increasingly unpredictable world of natural disasters and climate-induced scenarios, IntelligentAI are utilising artificial intelligence to envision a more comprehensive approach to insurance. By combining global, local and site-specific data, IntelligentAI has invented technology with the ability to create a 360 degree model of risk. 

Using its ‘Digital Twin’ technology, IntelligentAI is able to aggregate together geopolitical, satellite and climate data with local statistics on crime, fire, and flooding risk in real-time models. These Digital Twins work to reduce claims and lower operating costs which benefits insurers and promotes confidence in property owners.


Another company using Digital Twin technology, DigiLab is an agile deep-tech company tackling a wide range of challenges with AI technology. Using their self-optimising machine learning platform, the team at DigiLab have helped on projects as diverse as an app designed to assess solar potential for urban rooftops to creating the Digital Twins of aircraft wings.

Winners of the Tech South West ‘Ones to Watch’ award, DigiLab promotes a ‘commitment to solving global climate problems through trailblazing technology’. DigiLab are also looking towards the future generation of South West talent with their own virtual academy. With courses on machine learning and AI ethics, DigiLab Academy aims to empower individuals with an understanding of AI and new technologies.


By Emily Brotherton