One company plans to 3D-print rockets on Mars, another is using AI to make driverless cars understand the behaviour of other road users, while a third is using big data to help avert natural disasters.

They are among the 56 companies that the World Economic Forum has named its Technology Pioneers 2019.

“Our new tech pioneers are at the cutting edge of many industries, using their innovations to address serious issues around the world,” says Fulvia Montresor, Head of Technology Pioneers at the Forum. “This year’s pioneers know that technology is about more than innovation – it is also about application. This is why we believe they’ll shape the future.”

As well as the recognition for their work, becoming a Technology Pioneer gives the companies a chance to participate in a two-year programme with the Forum, when they can collaborate with their peers in emerging tech, engage with industry leaders and work with public and private experts around the world.

More than a quarter of this year's intake are companies led by women, and the Tech Pioneers are spread around the globe: Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Among the new Tech Pioneers announced at the Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China:

Chinese company Alesca Life creates cloud-connected farms and farm digitization software to improve the efficiency of food production so that hotels, restaurants or even private homes can produce food in automated “cabinet farms” that it says use up to 25 times less water and land than traditional methods.

Mexico’s Via Verde creates vertical gardens in cities - green spaces that generate oxygen, improve air quality, reduce urban heat islands and provide psychological benefits to highly populated cities.

US company Perceptive Automata combines behavioural science, neuroscience and computer vision to help autonomous understand how pedestrians, bikes and drivers communicate on the road.