Artificial intelligence, 3D scanning being used to improve safety at oil and gas sites – The Province

Original article can be found here (source): artificial intelligence

AI researchers Cory Janssen and Nicole Janssen, Co-founders of AltaML in Edmonton, March 7, 2019. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

An Edmonton-based tech company is using artificial intelligence to spot potential safety risks at oil and gas facilities.

Last week, AltaML announced a partnership with engineering and design firm Kleinfelder in which the two companies will pair 3D reality scans of facilities with artificial intelligence (AI) to look for potential problems and risks.

Chris Fletcher, business development manager with AltaML, said the use of AI and machine learning, which is a subset of AI, is meant to be another tool for safety inspectors and plant operators. He said the company’s goal is to bring AI to the blue-collared industry.

“The goal is to basically put higher quality safety plant recommendations in front of inspectors so that they can catch the ones that require more attention earlier on and spend less time looking at safety infractions or concerns that didn’t need to be looked at in the first place,” he said, adding the end result is facilities becoming safer and more productive.

Fletcher said fireproofing facilities, for example, can be particularly challenging because of the constant monitoring that’s needed to watch for degradation. This is where the 3D scanning and AI come in to maintain that monitoring. He said inspectors are able to check plants and facilities even remotely.

“Right now, we’re focused on fireproofing and a couple other small infrastructure assets,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing in the short term. Long term is capturing the whole facility, being able to raise those red flags throughout the whole facility.”

Fletcher wouldn’t say how many facilities are using this technology.

AltaML began operations about three years ago and has since grown to employ around 65 people. Fletcher said the company was started to take advantage of the data-science and computing-science talent coming out of the University of Alberta. He said the university has top professors teaching with students coming all over the world to learn under them but the problem was after graduation they wouldn’t stick around.

“They ended up going to work for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google and so on,” Fletcher said. “What our founder Cory Janssen did was he went out, built a partnership with (the university). He hired a good chunk of the data scientists who were out of these courses and basically built a company where our whole mission is to help large enterprise organizations — traditionally blue-collar — deploy AI.”

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