Scotland is making great strides in artificial intelligence (AI). In an effort to expand into the artificial intelligence sector, Scotland has embarked on multiple initiatives. These projects range from the EMOTE project: a robotic tutor that can empathise with children, Seebyte: a company working to develop autonomous underwater vehicles used for pipeline inspection, to Giraff: a robotic system allowing for virtual visits to patients with dementia.
At Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh Scotland, The EMOTE project worked to integrate technology and social robotics into elementary education via the EMOTE Empathetic Robot Tutor. Throughout a three year long research venture, the EMOTE project developed robotic tutors with the ability to empathise with young students by being able to understand when they are confused The project developed two applications used by the robotic tutors to teach the young children. One of these programs, MapSkills, was a treasure hunting program in which children were taught to read a map and follow directions. The second application, EnerCities, was a game in which students worked with their robotic tutor to build a sustainable city. This game taught the students about issues of sustainability in society and solutions to pollution, energy shortages, and renewable energy through discussion. While interacting with the students, the robotic tutors learned about the individual’s behavior and habits and developed a personalised method of teaching.
Scotland is also utilising AI in industry in the North Sea oil and gas sector. The Heriot-Watt Underwater Robotics Group in Edinburgh helped to create SeeByte, a company that produces AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) used for pipeline tracking and pilot controlled live auto-transit. SeeByte’s developments have helped to advance both the Scottish oil industry and the AI sector through programs such as AutoTracker, a software allowing AUV’s to accurately track pipelines and reason logically when confronted with multiple pipelines or unexpected issues. This software’s ability to increase inspection efficiency is extremely cost effective for oil and gas companies in the North Sea as it decreases the amount of repeat missions thus saving time, while simultaneously collecting accurate data. CoPilot, another software developed by SeeByte that is used in the fossil fuel industry, is the world’s most advanced and user-friendly software for the operation of ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles). The use of AI in the fossil fuel industry has allowed for the development of more efficient methods of inspecting and working on pipelines to ensure the safe and effective transit of fuel throughout the North Sea.
Autonomous systems have also been used by the National Health Service in the Western Isles in Scotland to aid patients struggling with dementia. Giraff is an automated tablet on wheels that allows for a virtual visit from a family member to the patient. Visitors have the ability to live video chat with the patient from the tablet’s screen, allowing for a face-to-face interaction from anywhere in the world. Additionally, users can control Giraff’s movements with their computer’s mouse from wherever they are. This virtual visit allows families to check in on their loved ones with ease, making the home safer for patients with dementia and making care for the patients more effective and efficient.
Scotland’s advances in AI technology have allowed Scottish enterprises to grow, and have helped make other industries in Scottish society safer and more sustainable. Health and education have been improved through the development of machine learning and social robotics, however these are not the only areas of improvement caused by AI. The oil and gas industry of the North Sea has also been positively affected through the advancement of AI technology. The benefits demonstrated by Scottish society have shown how AI can improve both societal functions as well as industrial ones.
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Written by Grace Kelman & Edited by Alexander Fleiss