AI fuels the transformation of Shell’s global energy business

Imagine a man lighting a cigarette while he’s waiting at the pump for his car to finish fueling at a Shell gas station in Singapore, unaware that with one move he could cause a fire or explosion.

An onsite video camera captures the scene, and a device inside the station running Microsoft Azure IoT Edge can now use artificial intelligence tools to pick out that behavior — out of all the cars coming and going, drivers cleaning windshields, customers buying snacks — as a potential safety risk.

It’s a first line of defense on the “intelligent edge,” where data is quickly processed close to where it’s collected, without accessing the cloud, and simple machine learning algorithms can dispense with anything that’s not of interest. They can also be trained to look for other high-risk incidents: people driving recklessly, theft, improper fueling.

Questionable frames are immediately uploaded to the Microsoft Azure cloud, which can power more sophisticated deep learning AI models. These can identify that the man is smoking and raise an instantaneous alert on an onsite dashboard, so the station manager can take action to shut down the pump before any harm is done.

This pilot project — now in action at two gas stations in Thailand and Singapore — is just one example of how Shell is integrating AI, cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technology across all dimensions of its energy business. From oil and natural gas fields to the gas pump to electric charging stations, Shell has developed leading-edge technologies that are making operations safer, boosting efficiency, saving money and helping employees communicate and share solutions across the global company.

Read the full story on the AI blog.