AI firm developing drones for farming, robotics for pipelines

Thailand continues to embrace new technology in a variety of fields as AI and Robotics Ventures Company Limited (ARV) said it is developing drones to help farmers and robots to inspect underwater oil and gas pipelines.

Drone technology can help farmers improve their output by allowing them to survey large areas quickly and pinpoint issues that need addressing, such as where pests may be damaging crops.

Agriculture is an important pillar of the Thai economy and culture, employing millions of people and contributing about 10 percent to gross domestic product. Thailand is the only net food exporter in Asia.

ARV said it would form a joint venture with Thaicom, a satellite operator, for the drone project. ARV is a subsidiary of PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP). Thana Slanvetpan, an ARV executive, said the joint venture would also seek to work with companies in the agricultural industry.

Some farmers in Thailand are already using drone technology, but their numbers are small. The ARV project should increase drone usage by growers.

ARV is also partnering with a Norwegian startup to build autonomous robots to inspect underwater pipelines and oilrig structures. Underwater inspections could help prevent breaks and ruptures, protecting the marine environment from oil and gas leaks and spills.

In the second or third quarter this year, Thana said, the company would begin commercial production of the Subsea Flowline Control and Repair Robot and conduct trial runs.

Thana said the company aims to be not only a leader in the robot and AI technology field in Thailand but also in Southeast Asia.

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