Automation Anywhere, Google Cloud partner to aid IA adoption
Automation Anywhere, a leader in robotic process automation (RPA), and Google Cloud have announced a strategic, multi-year collaboration to accelerate intelligent automation adoption with enterprises on a global scale.
With this partnership, Automation Anywhere’s Automation 360 platform will be available on Google Cloud, and the two firms will mutually develop AI- and RPA-powered solutions, bring RPA capabilities to multiple Google Cloud products, and closely align go-to-market teams to help global businesses scale RPA capabilities.
Demand for automation in business
With the aim of utilising intelligent automation (IA) to help global companies digitally transform, especially in the ‘new working normal’, this partnership will “support business transformation with cloud and automation”, says Mihir Shukla, CEO, Automation Anywhere.
By collaborating with Google Cloud, “we can help organizations leverage intelligent automation capabilities at a massive, global scale, and dramatically decrease the amount of time that teams spend on their most common, repetitive business tasks,” adds Shukla.
Research from Automation Anywhere reveals that more than half of businesses plan to increase their investments in automation within the next year, with 67% choosing to deploy RPA in the cloud in the next 12 months. This is driven in part by the need for remote work solutions amidst the global pandemic.
“As businesses increasingly run in the cloud, RPA provides the means to streamline processes across both cloud-native applications and legacy, on-premises systems - ultimately helping employees spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time supporting business-critical projects,” says Thomas Kurian, CEO, Google Cloud.
“We are proud to partner with Automation Anywhere to help businesses quickly deploy and scale RPA capabilities on Google Cloud, and to address business challenges with solutions specially designed for industries.”
Industry-specific solutions available
Through this collaboration, Google Cloud will also integrate Automation Anywhere’s RPA capabilities with services such as Apigee, Appsheet, and AI Platform, enabling customers to scale the application of automation with API management, low- or no-code development, or the development of ML workflows.
The two firms will also together develop solutions geared toward industry-specific use cases, with a focus on financial services, supply chains, healthcare and life sciences, telecommunications, retail, and the public sector.
Furthermore, Automation Anywhere will migrate Automation 360, its cloud-native, web-based automation platform to Google Cloud as its primary cloud provider, and will become Google Cloud’s preferred RPA partner. Automation Anywhere solutions will also be available in the Google Cloud Marketplace, making it deployable across cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments, and providing customers with a single view and management pane across all assets and environments.
How is RPA applied today?
Today, RPA has become an integral part of businesses’ digital transformation efforts. ‘Front office’ employees at financial services companies, call centers, human resources or finance offices, IT centers, and more handle thousands of manual, repetitive tasks each day, such as invoice processing, lending decisions, and employee onboarding.
In the back office, IT teams and developers spend time managing APIs, entering data, and ensuring that new, cloud-native applications can connect with legacy, on-premises systems. RPA, along with machine learning (ML), computer vision, deep learning and analytics can help businesses streamline these processes and better support their employees with the development of AI-powered software bots capable of managing an infinite number of tedious front-and-back office tasks.
Dr Peng Wei: Designing the Future of Autonomous Aircraft
Air traffic is expected to double by 2037. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world will need 37,000+ new passenger and freight aircraft, and more than half a million new pilots—unless we come up with another solution. Right now, a George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science professor, Dr Peng Wei, is starting to research autonomous electric aircraft design.
NASA will fund the research, which will study how to minimise risks for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). As Airbus states: ‘Autonomous technologies also have the potential to improve air traffic management, enhance sustainability performance and further improve aircraft safety’.
Who is Dr Wei?
An assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Wei has researched aircraft control, optimisation, and AI and ML applications in aviation. Over the next three years, he’ll lead the US$2.5mn NASA grant project in collaboration with researchers from Vanderbilt, the University of Texas at Austin, and MIT’s Lincoln Lab.
Why is His Research Important?
Even though the wide adoption of self-piloting cars, much less aircraft, is still far down the road, technologies that Dr Wei and his colleagues are researching will form the commercial transport of the future. But aviation manufacturers, in order to produce autonomous aircraft, will have to meet extremely high safety standards.
‘The key challenge for self-piloting capabilities is how the system reacts to unforeseen events’, said Arne Stoschek, Wayfinder Project Executive at Acubed. ‘That’s the big jump from automated to autonomous’. In the air, AI-piloted aircraft will have to manoeuvre around adverse weather conditions, such as wind and storms, and other high-altitude risks, such as GPS hacking, cyberattacks, and aircraft degradation. And the stakes are high.
‘If a machine learning algorithm makes a mistake in Facebook, TikTok, Netflix —that doesn't matter too much because I was just recommended a video or movie I don't like’, Dr Wei said. ‘But if a machine learning algorithm mistake happens in a safety-critical application, such as aviation or in autonomous driving, people may have accidents. There may be fatal results’.
What Are His Other Projects?
In addition to the new NASA research, Dr Wei has been awarded three other grants to pursue AI-piloted aircraft:
- A 2-year grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in conjunction with West Virginia University and Honeywell Aerospace to investigate “learning-based” aviation systems
- A six-month SBIR Phase I NASA award with Intelligent Automation to mitigate airspace congestion at vertiports—the electric craft version of airports.
- A 1-year collaborative grant with the University of Virginia and George Mason University from the Virginia Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) to develop anti-cyber attack technologies and aviation video systems
Research like NASA and Dr Wei’s three-year programme will help improve how AI reacts and adapts to challenging air conditions. In coming years, autonomous aircraft will likely take off slowly, starting with small package delivery, then upgraded drones, and finally commercialised aircraft. But congestion issues will worsen until autonomous aircraft are the best alternative.
According to BBC Future, by 2030, commuters will spend nearly 100 hours a year in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic jams, and 43 cities will be home to more than 10 million people. The final verdict? Bring on the AI-operated transit.