Machine Intelligence

This prototype will use machine learning to identify defects in manufacturing, improve the quality of the end product, reduce waste and save money.

BAE Systems challenge: Scalable artificial intelligence for visual inspection

BAE Systems is interested in an artificial intelligence (AI) vision inspection system which can, once proven, roll-out as a tool to assist with testing and quality checks across various assembly, manufacturing and build stages. This will encompass image categorisation, for build verification and quality checks, and inform “go” or “no go” decisions. The solution will need to be extremely quick and easy to train up and deploy, requiring minimal datasets to run, as well as scalable to new assemblies and build stages.

You can read more about BAE Systems and the two challenges here.

About Machine Intelligence Ltd

Machine Intelligence Ltd develops computer vision and machine learning techniques for industry and academia. It offers expertise in systems integration, software development and artificial intelligence (AI).

The solution

Using a novel machine learning technique, this solution will identify defects in manufacturing, improve the quality of the end product, reduce waste and save money. The highly-accurate system can recognise defects within camera images and will further improve the inspection process, which has typically relied on people, and more recently relies on using computer vision and AI. With the ability to learn from a small number of examples, it generates robust machine learning models that can be inspected and improved by a human expert.

For industry the solution will:

  • Provide repeatable and simple defect detection from images, with high quality and accuracy
  • Provide confidence in solutions
  • Generate robust machine learning models that can be inspected and improved by a human expert
  • Enable early identification of issues, which will reduce waste and save money

What the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator means to Machine Intelligence

“The Made Smarter Technology Accelerator programme will allow Machine Intelligence Ltd to demonstrate its technology in new application areas. We look forward to working with BAE Systems to expand not only our knowledge, but our market reach.” Simon Harding, Director, Machine Intelligence Ltd

Prototype presentation

On 23 June 2021, the programme proudly presented the first phase insights and learnings for industry in an online event.  Watch the Machine Intelligence pitch here:


Welcoming Machine Intelligence to our minimum viable product phase cohort – 5 minutes with Simon Harding, Director, Machine Intelligence Ltd.

What’s the best thing about startup life for you?

The challenges. Every day brings something new to learn or a new problem to solve. I formed the company to take my academic research into the “real” world – so in many ways I am working on my passion project.

What’s it been like working with BAE Systems?

It’s been a great experience.

BAE Systems has recognised Machine Intelligence’s technology as something with great potential within its manufacturing and they are excited by the possibilities. BAE Systems and Machine Intelligence is on a learning curve trying to work out how and where we can best fit Machine Intelligence’s solution into its processes. It has been a real team effort on both sides.

How do you think digital technologies are going to impact the aerospace) industry?

Advanced digital technologies change everything. Machine learning will impact all aspects of manufacturing. In this programme we are ‘just’ looking at inspection, but the ability of a machine to either augment or replace a person at every stage of manufacturing will dramatically improve the cost and quality of the produced items, and free up people to do other important jobs.

What are your hopes for the future of your solution?

I’m excited that the solution has many end applications. Machine learning, when applied to imagery, has limitless opportunities – many outside of manufacturing.

Some of these can make a real difference to people – whether it is making the products they buy safer or more efficient, or when these techniques are applied to medical imagery to help with spotting and diagnosing disease.

Machine learning is transforming what we can do, and here at Machine Intelligence we look forward to providing the tools.

What are your biggest learnings from the programme to date?

That giant companies can be excited to work with micro-businesses. Our conversations with BAE Systems have revealed that there is real enthusiasm around leveraging the skills and technology that exist outside the world of tech giants and multi-nationals.

What are you most excited about heading into the minimum viable product phase of the programme?

The prototype phase gave BAE Systems and Machine Intelligence a taste of what is possible. The minimum viable product phase will allow us create something amazing that not only works for BAE Systems, but moves Machine Intelligence’s technology and solution forward.