Autonomous Drones Machine Learning Project

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Do you know the difference between automation, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence?

Someone recently asked: “My interest in outsourcing is in the areas of cloud and AI and industrial automation space. Is that an area you have prior exposure to?”

My response: “We have a lot of experience with cloud applications, management, and automation. We’ve also explored various industrial automaton applications that would connect PLC and IoT projects to the cloud. We’d need to know more about what you mean by and expect from AI before I could say for sure (much “AI” these days isn’t really AI at all).”

Automation, Machine Learning, and AI

  • Automation, simply put takes routine, repetitive tasks that humans perform (like building the same report in Excel every day) and has a computer do them.
  • Machine Learning takes data, analyzes it, and make predictions about future behavior/outcomes.
  • Artificial Intelligence is about making machines simulate intelligence – ever carry on a conversation with a chatbot? (They may not all be as intelligent as we want them to be).

If you want more information on the difference between automation, AI, and machine learning, check out this article.

An Example: Machine Learning Drone Project

Continuing my response: “to give you a more concrete example of the kinds of things we can do, we currently are involved in a project that inspects power generation windmills with drones. We are responsible for the software that launches the drones, pulls the data off the drones, and then sends that to Microsoft Azure where we spin up huge GPU instances to process the images through a machine learning model that can identify blade defects. That all then gets automatically added to a graphical interface for the client to interface with that shows them the severity of the damage, which blade, etc. so they can schedule repairs.

Not exactly a standard industrial automation project, but demonstrates the skills and experience we have to bring technology disciplines together.”

If you have interesting projects you need consultation on, or development help with, please let us know!

Originally published on 2020-03-09 by Royce Hall

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