Andrew Ng, the respected computer scientist and entrepreneur, is getting his hands dirty, metaphorically speaking. Having co-founded education startup Coursera and built artificial intelligence units for Google and then Baidu, Ng now has his sights on factories.
“I’ve been to so many manufacturing plants,” says Ng, whose new startup, Landing.ai, aims to provide AI technology to the masses of companies that can’t or won’t build their own AI teams. “I’ve yet to walk into one where I did not think AI solutions wouldn’t help.”
The AI opportunity for manufacturing, says Ng, starts with inspection. All aspects of the manufacturing process require inspection for defects, often done by hundreds of people the old-fashioned way: with their eyes. “With human inspectors it’s difficult to get even the same person to make consistent judgments,” says Ng, let alone multiple people across multiple products. Landing.ai’s software analyzes photos and X-rays, but not yet ultrasounds, the technology ordered up to check fan blades on the engines of Boeing 737s.