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Why BP Are Investing in Space Technology

Since its launch in 2006, BP’s corporate investment arm BP Ventures has invested over £250 million into promising ideas, start-ups and technologies with the potential to revolutionise the oilfield.

The latest item to catch their attention and £15 million is Californian based company Beyond Limit, who are advancing technology from NASA and the U.S. space programme.

Beyond Limits have a range of AI equipped, cognitive computing software that was developed for deep space exploration over the last 20 years. It has endured testing from both the corporate and scientific parties: this has occurred in challenging conditions with zero error margin and a critical need for above-average speed – the company is now adapting this to different surroundings on earth to tackle industrial and enterprise tasks. So far, the software has helped discover a weather detecting model by tracking dust build and wind activity.

Another important feature to the software is the human knowledge and logic it is equipped with, as the dual aspect would significantly improve operational insight, business optimisation and process automation for the user. The CEO of Beyond Limits, AJ Abdallat, says implementing the human side of IoT is imperative to them: “Whereas many popularized cognitive computing solutions in the marketplace are focused on deep machine learning applied to sensor fusion and computer vision, our cognitive computing focuses on human thinking and automates human decision processes.”

This unique nature of the solution is what BP sees, too: Meghan Sharp, managing director of BP Ventures Americas will be joining Beyond Limited’s board. In a statement earlier this summer, she said BP are excited to be investing into ideas beyond “the traditional world of oil and gas, but those looking toward a new energy future.”

For the investing side this could mean first access to the improvements such technology will provide: most likely these will include changes to how oil reservoirs are located and developed and how crude oil is produced and refined. On a larger scale this will, if and when successful, bring around changes to most of the energy companies and how they function. Dashboard can clearly see why space technology has caught the interest of one of the energy industry’s leaders and we think there is a clear advantage in using technology from other fields.