UK has what it takes to be world leader for industrial Artificial Intelligence

Posted on 10 Dec 2019 by Jonny Williamson

The UK has the potential to lead the world in the application of artificial intelligence for manufacturing, so long as businesses overcome a handful of key factors.

The UK has the largest artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) markets in Europe, with more than 200 SMEs in the field, compared to just 80 in Germany.

That’s according to Dr Nandini Chakravorti, technology manager for the data and information systems team at Coventry’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) – part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult network, supported by Innovate UK.

industrial Artificial Intelligence Digital Transformation Data Insight Decision-Making Technology AI Artificial Intelligence - Stock Image

Artificial intelligence has huge potential to revolutionise manufacturing in areas such as predictive maintenance, quality control and faster, more reliable designs, and the UK has a tremendous platform to capitalise on these new, disruptive technologies.

Describing the potential of industrial artificial intelligence as “enormous”, Dr Chakravorti warns that the take-up of AI is being impeded by a number of key factors.

These include:

  • A lack of leadership knowledge and awareness
  • A lack of support for start-ups
  • A lack of clarity on the return on investment

In order to ensure AI is deployed in a way that maximises the benefits, Dr Chakravorti recommends businesses:

  • Develop an artificial intelligence strategy with clearly defined financial and effectiveness goals
  • Find individuals with the appropriate skill sets
  • Have leaders provide clear ownership and strategic commitment to AI

Dr Chakravorti noted: “Artificial intelligence has been around since the 1950s, but the availability of ultra high-speed computing and widespread connectivity is giving us the chance to make huge advances which will improve quality and productivity, along with manufacturing accuracy and repeatability.

“The blend of industry, technology businesses and academia provides major opportunities for the UK to be positioned as a world leader in the industrial application of AI.”

The Manufacturing Technology Centre

The Manufacturing Technology Centre - image courtesy of the MTC.The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd.

The Centre aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the government’s manufacturing strategy.

The MTC, will be hosting an event in February 2020 to help business leaders, decision-makers, entrepreneurs and engineers understand the benefits AI can bring to a manufacturing business.

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*Image courtesy of Depositphotos