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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A startup is employing AI to streamline and perfect manufacturing.

Why it matters: As valuable as machine learning has been in software, the next phase could be even more disruptive: bringing AI to the often messy process of making things.

What's happening: Nanotronics, a Brooklyn-based science technology company, has developed a platform that combines AI, automation and computer imaging to identify anomalies in the manufacturing process.

  • Quality control is usually the province of workers, but Nanotronics is able to automate much of the process, leading to an "autonomous factory that can change parameters and create alerts, doing things that humans just wouldn't be able to do," says Matthew Putman, the company's founder and CEO.
  • For Nanotronics' partners — which include biotech and semiconductor companies — "AI becomes a great partner in being able to build a factory," he says.

By the numbers: A report published last year from the research firm Technavio estimates that the size of the broader automated industrial quality control market is expected to grow by 7% a year between 2020 and 2024.

  • That growth will likely be accelerated by the effects of the pandemic, which disrupted supply chains and put a premium on the ability to automate manufacturing as much as possible.

Situational awareness: On Thursday, Nanotronics announced a partnership with chemical manufacturer Solugen to use its technology to ensure clean water and safety in Solugen's autonomous chemical plants.

"I don't want the next big tech idea to be a social network. I want it to be a factory."
Matthew Putman, Nanotronics

Go deeper: AI is industrializing

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Mar 26, 2021 - Technology

ACLU to FOIA information about national security uses of AI

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The ACLU will be seeking information about how the government is using artificial intelligence in national security, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The development of AI has major implications for security, surveillance, and justice. The ACLU's request may help shed some light on the government's often opaque applications of AI.

Wildfires ravage communities in Northern California as thousands evacuate

Firefighters monitoring the scene as flames from the Dixie Fire jump across highway 89 near Greenville, California, on Tuesday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Two massive California wildfires have triggered new mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in the state's north overnight.

Details: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through the town of Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County Wednesday night. The rapidly spreading River Fire burned "multiple" homes as it tore through Placer and Nevada counties, KOVR notes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

The U.S. women's team celebrates during a game against the Netherlands on July 30, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan. Photo: Logan Beerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images

⚽: U.S. women's soccer team beats Australia, wins bronze

🥇: Ryan Crouser breaks his own Olympic shot put record to win gold for U.S.

🛶: U.S. teenager Nevin Harrison wins first Olympic women's canoe 200m

🏐: U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 13 highlights

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage