TechHub: PPG in on Autonomous Vehicles, Walmart’s Robots & Oil News

PPG Partnering with University of Michigan for Autonomous Vehicle Research

PPG and the University of Michigan are partnering up to test coatings for autonomous vehicles, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

The company will work with Mcity, a public-private partnership that operates a test facility for autonomous vehicles, connected-vehicle systems and related technology.

PPG is developing coatings to improve functionality and enable broad deployment of autonomous vehicles. Examples are an exterior that enhances vehicle visibility to radar and light detection and ranging, and easy-to-clean coatings to help prevent obstruction of sensors.

“Specialized coatings will play an integral role in the development of safe and reliable driverless vehicles,” said Gary Danowski, PPG vice president of automotive OEM coatings, in a statement. “We are enthusiastic about this partnership and are always actively seeking additional R&D partners as we continue to explore new possibilities in emerging vehicle technologies.”

The research will be conducted at Mcity’s test facility — a 32-acre site at the University of Michigan’s north campus that consists of roads and traffic infrastructure, intersections, sidewalks, fire hydrants and simulated buildings with obstacles like construction barriers and pedestrian crash dummies.

Walmart Tests Automation to Scan Shelves, Free up Time

Robots are no longer a rare thing to see in factories — Amazon alone uses more than 45,000 — but now they’re moving into stores, too. Walmart has recently deployed shelf-scanning bots in more than 50 stores across the U.S., using them to check things like inventory, prices and misplaced items according to the Verge.

The robots won’t cost Walmart employees any jobs, and it saves them time from carrying out tasks that are predictable, repeatable and manual.

The bots are produced by California and Pittsburgh-based Bossa Nova Robotics, and are about two-feet tall with an extendable tower containing lights and sensors for scanning shelves.

In addition to saving workers time, the data the robots collect will help Walmart improve efficiencies in stores nationwide.

“If you think about trying to go through a facility with all these different [items] and figure out if your prices are accurate, it can be very time-consuming,” John Crecelius, Walmart’s vice president of central operations, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “From our perspective, when you’re doing things like this you’re trying to improve your service to your customers and trying to make things simpler and easier for your associates at the same time.”

U.S. Oil Industry Ramping Up Production

A large upswing in U.S. shale production is pushing the oil output towards 10 million barrels daily, with projections to increase to 11 million by 2019 — a level which would rival Russia, the world’s current top oil producer.

The impacts have been astronomical, cutting the nation’s oil imports by a fifth over a decade, providing high-paying jobs in rural communities and lowering consumer prices for domestic gas by 37-percent from a 2008 peak, according to Reuters.

“It has had incredibly positive impacts for the U.S. economy, for the workforce and even our reduced carbon footprint” as shale natural gas has displaced coal at power plants, said John England, head of consultancy Deloitte’s U.S. energy and resources practice.

The next phase of shale output growth depends on implementing advancing technology to enable squeezing more oil from each well.

Companies are putting sensors on drill bits to more precisely access oil deposits, using artificial intelligence and remote operators to get the most out of the equipment and trained engineers.

TechHub: Industry 4.0 and the C-suite, AI and Big Data in 2018 & More

The Problems Industry 4.0 is Solving for the C-suite

Industry 4.0 generates a lot of hype — making it easy to forget the essential purpose of implementing the technology; running and growing the business.

C-suite executives rarely interact directly with this smart tech, but that doesn’t make it any less vital for businesses, according to Forbes.

It improves customer service, achieves operational efficiencies, innovates for the future, reduces risk, meets standards and regulations while improving company management. Let’s not forget the most important challenge — meeting the expanding demand for increased agility, speed, predictability and quality.

The demand never ends, creating an arms race to serve the customer the way they want while maintaining cost-effective production.

“What used to take generations is happening at a very rapid pace now,” says Erik Nistad, director of ITS for Mondelez International, in Forbes.

As a consumer products company, Mondelez must produce different products in different packages to serve different customers throughout the globe – all with the same high quality, he says.

In China, for example, customers want green tea-flavored Oreos. In developed countries, the company sells big packages of cookies; in developing countries, it sells smaller packages to customers with less discretionary income.

Meeting that variation drives the need to do localization and customizations. What was previously a “black box” to the C-suite, the factory is now the core in a demand-driven supply chain. Plants are more predictable, reliable and responsive in order to meet the needs of a changing market.

New approaches to product development are now possible thanks to digital transformation, creating an intelligent infrastructure that seamlessly connects design, manufacturing, automation and the supply chain.

Learn more about Industry 4.0 and starting your digital transformation.

Penn State’s Smart University Transformation: Webinar News

Large universities in the U.S. are faced with the increasingly emergent problem of updating their building’s aging infrastructure, with many campuses housing buildings built in the 1800’s.

Digital JourneyAs the 10th largest university in the U.S., Pennsylvania State University is a highly competitive institution. When it came time to upgrade their dated infrastructure across their expansive campus, the stakes were high.

Resources were right and the project couldn’t wait, forcing the Penn State IT and Plant Services departments to put a plan in action — fast.

Join GrayMatter and Tempered Networks on January 11, 2:00 PM EST for a webinar that will take attendees through the project details.

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5 Ways Big Data & AI Will Impact 2018

Companies dominating the life sciences world have begun to embrace the opportunities of Big Data & AI, with predictions to really make a difference in 2018.

Notable progress in drug development and the quality of insights produced at the research stage are a result, however opportunities to utilize the data for larger gains continues to grow, according to Forbes.

Here’s five major ways Big Data and AI will impact life sciences in 2018:

industry 4.0

One

The environment in the US will be increasingly hostile to high drug prices. This will make it essential for life science firms to defend their research budgets and profit margins by utilizing robust data and clearly demonstrate the value of their products.

industry 4.0

Two

Life science firms have had a hard time improving the speed and quality of bi-directional learning between patients and the drug discovery process due to poor data access and quality issues. As new best practices in data strategy are created, the industry continues to move towards the value unlocked by such translational medicine to accelerate.

industry 4.0

Three

Risk and inefficiencies continue to be life science supply chains’ biggest challenge. The employment of new technologies, such as blockchain, offers the potential to radically improve levels of control and quality measurements. Overall costs for infrastructure dramatically reduce as a result.

industry 4.0

Four

New branches of science are deepening our knowledge of genomics — the study of structure, function and mapping of DNA/ genes — creating opportunities for utilizing AI to gain previously impenetrable insights. Although still at the research stage, it’s predicted these techniques will impact fields such as oncology.

industry 4.0

Five

With all of the different fields of study opening up, at the end of the day the most important is the economical impact. Accessing and analyzing the right data to deliver sustainable business value remains the central purpose for life science firms.

Whatever the coming year holds, one thing is beyond doubt: Exciting new ways to create value and improve patient care await those firms willing to exploit the data tools and techniques that are now emerging.

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