Robonaut joins Woodside


​That's one small step for our cognitive science program, one giant leap for improved safety and reliability within Woodside. So what exactly is that? It's the partnership we have entered with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on a cognitive robotics research program. 

Together, we will investigate how this technology may be used to improve safety, reliability and efficiency in hazardous operating environments. NASA will loan Woodside an Anthropomorphic Robonaut System for five years and we will use it to test ideas put forward by people working on or at our operational sites. 

The Robonaut, which was built and designed at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is a dexterous humanoid robot. It combines the latest in data analytics with advanced sensory technology, opening up possibilities for us to improve our risk management and explore value-adding innovation.

And it is expected to arrive at Woodside Plaza mid-year. Once it lands, the data science team will work with NASA experts to put the Robonaut's cognitive robotics capabilities to the test. Importantly, it will test ideas we have put forward. As a starting point, the team will work through the 300-plus suggestions made by operators, engineers and maintenance workers at a series of workshops held late last year. These ideas targets jobs that are dangerous, dirty or dull. 

They aim to make our work safer and more efficient. Senior vice president and chief technology officer Shaun Gregory says the partnership represents a significant and exciting opportunity to accelerate our cognitive science program. "The partnership fits well with our collaborative approach to innovation," he says. "We want to bring together the best thinkers from inside and outside the company to deliver a better way forward to enable progress and sustained success." 

Woodside's application of cognition computing and artificial intelligence is already attracting attention. In February, Shaun was named chief informational officer of the year at the fifth annual Benchmark itNews Benchmark Awards. He was also a winner in the industrial category. itNews described Woodside's application of these technologies as "pioneering". "His (Shaun's) efforts have made the oil and gas giant the poster boy for nascent technology in Australian and the organisation to go to for guidance on how to deliver successful artificial intelligence and cognitive computing solutions in the enterprise," the online news site wrote. Data science manager Shelley Kalms, who accepted the award on Shaun's behalf, spoke of how proud everyone involved is to be a part of it. "We've started but we're still going," she said. "There's lots of scope out there. It's really exciting."​

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Trunkline Q1 2017