The University of Houston and AI Innovation Consortium in collaboration with companies like TechnipFMC and NVIDIA are building extended reality (XR) systems to accelerate the evolution of the industrial metaverse.

HOUSTON, TX, July 31, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — The AI Innovation Consortium is collaborating with the University of Houston (UH), NVIDIA, and TechnipFMC to advance the creation of industrial metaverse applications as part of the digital oilfield laboratory initiative. This collaboration brings together end-users, technology providers, and domain experts to build commercially relevant use cases and accelerator tools and break through informational silos. These resources ultimately enable an interconnected world with an industrial metaverse.

Adam Berg, Manager of Learning Solutions at TechnipFMC, has been working with the UH College of Technology and the AI Innovation Consortium to test and pilot a successful augmented reality program to train and manage upstream resources. TechnipFMC, a leading engineering and services company, is a driving force for the augmented, immersive, and virtual reality program known as X-Reality or the XR program.

“The purpose of the XR Network is to bring together the knowledge, tools, and people necessary to leverage XR technologies, to achieve business goals, and to transform industry environments. Our work with the college and the consortium has enabled us to move beyond concept to pilot and implementation,” added Berg.

Berg and his team have received some of the digital oilfield lab’s foundational tools in the form of digital twins of assets and natural language processing and AI-enhanced computer vision pipelines. These tools have helped bridge the gap between the real world and the metaverse, making it possible to create augmented reality environments for training, repair, and quality control without many of the manual complexities.

This industrial metaverse initiative is part of the University of Houston College of Technology’s digital oilfield laboratory to bring together faculty and students with AI Innovation Consortium partners such as TechnipFMC and NVIDIA to explore the development of commercially relevant digital solutions. These activities involve some of the largest manufacturers and oil and gas companies in the world. The goal of the consortium is to use technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and digital twins to create and build foundational tools for training solutions with unlimited scalability for enterprise.

Building on top of NVIDIA accelerated computing platforms — including NVIDIA DGX™ systems, the NVIDIA Jetson™ edge AI platform, and NVIDIA OVX, consortium members have access to software platforms like NVIDIA Omniverse™ to build and accelerate the evolution of the metaverse.

With the help of NVIDIA’s Global Energy Director, Marc Spieler, the initiative is bringing these tools to end-users like Berg and others.

“Our work with the AI Innovation Consortium and its ecosystem of partners and members is enabling the critical collaboration required between academic research, technology, and industry to scale artificial intelligence to achieve measurable outcomes in industries like energy and manufacturing. Using NVIDIA platforms like Omniverse and Modulus for digital twins and physically accurate simulations will accelerate and streamline returns on digital investments by reducing downtime and safety incidents,” said Spieler.

With the support of industry groups like the AI Innovation Consortium, domain experts from across the table are working together toward common goals with barriers of information sharing.

Konrad Konarski, Chairperson of the AI Innovation Consortium added:

“We are currently working to build the world’s largest portfolio of digitized metaverse assets and environments for both the oilfield and specific manufacturing sectors. This means a maintenance manager, an operations technology expert, or whoever is responsible for a metaverse technology project will be able to pick up an augmented reality platform or a wearable computer, or simply a smartphone, and seamlessly interconnect their real-world operating environment to and from the metaverse.”

The implications of this effort mean that the deployment of augmented reality, additive manufacturing, and digital twin technology platforms and the scalability of these platforms across any organization will be exponentially simpler.

The collective collaboration is also deeply rooted with the support of academic domain experts and professors at the University of Houston College of Technology, including consortium trustee Professor of Practice David Crawley. Professor Crawley, along with several members from the University of Houston College of Technology, has been working with the NVIDIA Isaac™ robotics platform for enhanced development, simulation, and deployment, as well as with other industrial robotic systems and cloud-based command and control platforms, as part of the AI digital oilfield that directly collaborates as part of the industrial metaverse initiative.

“The consortium’s academic ecosystem is a critical part of developing the future workforce. This workforce will be capable of using collaborative robot, or cobot, technologies as part of the evolution of industry 5.0, and experienced in developing and deploying artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and digital twin technologies. The joint initiative at our AI digital oilfield lab with the AI Innovation Consortium brings together professors, undergraduates, and postgraduate students on the development of the industrial metaverse, ‘lights out’ manufacturing, and broader AI and augmented reality application systems and leverages their expertise and aligns academia with industry,” said Professor Crawley.

This academic and collaboration footprint also extends to other universities and technology institutes. Among those, PhD student William Aiken from the University of Ottawa in Canada and teams from the MxD smart manufacturing center in Chicago are playing a part in building darkfactory systems with the help of the industrial metaverse.

The mission of the AIIC is to bring together industry leaders across different domains to support a holistic perspective on Artificial Intelligence to build standards and best practices that help drive technology adoption, evolve privacy, data governance, and data biases guiding principles, and effectively align AI evolution with the most relevant industry challenges and objectives now and in the future.

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