Once again, a shift is taking place in the industry. The shift is part of digital transformation as industry begins to move from industrial automation to industrial autonomy (IA2IA). Industrial autonomy transcends industrial automation by adding layers of smart sensing and machine cognition to anticipate and adapt to unforeseen circumstances – thus augmenting or removing the need for human intervention. Industrial autonomy is enabling companies to develop new and enhanced capabilities in all areas including production, planning and scheduling, distribution and supply chain management, engineering, field operations, and maintenance.
For operations and maintenance, this means transitioning from low levels of automation where humans perform all operations, to higher levels of automation where the operations are accomplished through collaboration between humans and robots, and eventually to autonomy. Industrial autonomy will not only enable a predictive maintenance application to determine whether issues exist, it will also guide humans and robots through remedial actions with instructions to accomplish them, or the application can complete the task on its own without human intervention.