Entitled AI + Safety, the position paper details the advance of AI and how such autonomous and self-learning systems are becoming more and more responsible for making safety-critical decisions.

The operation of many safety-critical systems has traditionally been automated through control theory by making decisions based on a predefined set of rules and the current state of the system. Conversely, AI tries to automatically learn reasonable rules based on previous experience.

As major incidents in the oil and gas industry are fortunately scarce, such scenarios are not well captured by data-driven models alone as not enough failure-data is available to make such critical decisions, DNV GL explained.

AI and machine-learning algorithms, which currently rely on data-driven models to predict and act upon future scenarios, may not be sufficient then to assure safe operations and protect lives. DNV GL seeks to combine the best of the traditional physics-based methods with the opportunities provided by novel data-driven approaches.

According to Simen Eldevik, author of the position paper and a principle research scientist with DNV GL Risk & Machine Learning, the emergence of AI and digital-based solutions is the next step for the oil and gas sector to drive efficiencies:

The industry is already developing and working with autonomous robots capable of performing a plethora of complex actions, including reading dials and gauges and navigating around obstacles on offshore assets. However, a combination of data-driven models and the causal and physics-based knowledge of industry experts is essential when AI and machine learning are used to inform or make decisions in safety-critical systems.

The position paper stresses that if the industry can supplement these data-driven models by generating physics-based casual data, it will be significantly closer to the safe implementation of AI in safety-critical systems.

On the same context, DNV GL has joined forces with Norway’s largest universities and companies, including Equinor, Kongsberg Group and Telenor, to establish a Norwegian ‘powerhouse’ for AI. The Norwegian Open AI Lab aims to improve the quality and capacity for research, education and innovation in AI, machine learning and big data.