IBM Watson Internet of Things Platform Gives Drones Cognitive Computing Capabilities

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November 21, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: November 21 on

IBM and Aerialtronics, a Netherlands-based designer and producer of unmanned aircraft systems, today announced the first commercial drones featuring cognitive computing capabilities from the IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) Platform on IBM Cloud.  Aerialtronics vehicles can provide high-quality inspection services for global organizations across multiple industries, from monitoring city traffic patterns to inspecting wind turbines, oil rigs and cell tower optimization.

Now, rather than climbing towers, inspecting key areas and reporting back findings, teams can deploy Aerialtronics drones from the ground and, through high definition cameras and Watson Visual Recognition APIs, immediately gain a complete 360-degree, high resolution overview while understanding what it’s seeing. Drones can capture these important images in minutes and with the push of a button, immediately send the images to the IBM Watson IoT Platform to be analyzed in near real-time.

Aerialtronics’s commercial drones are the first to leverage the IBM Watson IoT Platform and the Visual Recognition APIs to analyze images and identify specific areas of concern such as loose or frayed cabling and damaged equipment that could impact the quality of telecommunications service to consumers. Constantly learning over time, IBM Watson IoT solutions provide a confidence rating to teams so they can determine if and when repairs should be made. As a result, businesses have the potential to significantly increase the number of daily cell tower inspections, reduce possible human error and help maintain the safety of workers.

“Pairing the unlimited perspective of drones with Watson IoT can bring these powerful cognitive capabilities to any location, where it can be used to analyze unexpected traffic patterns resulting from nearby construction or how a train is performing while it’s in transit,” said Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson Internet of Things, Commerce & Education. “We are very excited to work with Aerialtronics to bring these capabilities to telecommunications providers and we look forward to continuing to push the boundaries on what this pairing can accomplish.”

By putting Watson IoT capabilities into flight, Aerialtronics can help companies open up expansive number of possibilities to gain insight in places not easily accessible to humans.