Dominik Wee Google Cloud

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The US lags behind European and Asian competitors in using artificial intelligence for manufacturing, new research from Google Cloud has found. And the search giant’s cloud arm is making a big bet that companies will plunge into AI in an effort to catch up as COVID-19 slowly recedes. 

The US was last in prioritizing AI as a company objective, trailing France, the UK, Italy, Germany, Korea and Japan, Google Cloud said in research released Wednesday. “It’s quite astonishing to see how large this gap is,” Dominik Wee, global head of manufacturing at Google Cloud, told Insider. Wee noted that it seems to stem from manufacturing reluctance to adopt evolving technology “on the shop floor.”

But that is changing as the nation rebounds from the COVID-19 economic downturn. Google Cloud believes US companies will embrace its connected-device technology and vast data sets to bring more AI to American factory floors. The data and connected-devices tools can be used to create automated processes and improve production in key ways. 

AI on factory floors is often used for predictive maintenance, warning companies when to address machine repairs – before assembly lines break down. Companies can also build “digital twins” of factories, replicating the real world factory digitally, then experimenting with new approaches that could speed up production. 

Those approaches are much more prevalent outside the US, and that means offshoring jobs, Google Cloud says. 

“You traditionally see a lot of legacy technology on the shop floor, because AI hasn’t been considered mature enough,” Wee told Insider. But coming out of the pandemic, “that’s being overcome. There is now more interest in trying new things.”

Wee said Google Cloud is making a big bet that this decade will show a huge increase in adoption of AI in US factories, as the nation looks to catch up with its economic rivals.”  

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“Our thesis is that the tech has come to a stage of maturity, and understanding of the technology has also grown. Wee said Google Cloud believes it has gathered “a very good understanding” AI in manufacturing. What the company sees is companies “investing heavily in industrial AI solutions” in the coming decade. 

Ford has adopted Google Cloud’s AI program

One American company that says it is already committed to expanding AI in its manufacturing is Ford, which is using Google AI tools to improve supply-chain and manufacturing processes, such as training new employees on the factory floor by instructing them on the machinery they are looking at. 

“Our new relationship with Google will  supercharge our efforts to democratize AI across our business, from the plant floor to vehicles to dealerships,” Ford’s Bryan Goodman, director of the company’s AI and cloud computing programs, said in a testimonial released Wednesday. 

Other companies have some catching up to do, Google’s new research shows. The US lags behind European manufacturing forces such as Italy and Germany when it comes to using AI in day-to-day operations on factory floors. 

Other recent research backs up Google Cloud’s findings. “Europe is leading the way, with more than half of its …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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