US Committing $70m to Promote AI in Manufacturing


The US Commerce Dept’s outlay over the next five years is aimed at boosting the competitiveness of American manufacturers with AI. Part of a federal initiative1 to boost uptake of the technology, the new Manufactuing USA Institute will foster collaborative R&D using AI tools, facilitate cross-sector partnerships among manufacturers and assist them in upskilling workforces.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology2 that oversees the network of Manufacturing USA institutes got the build phase started with the March publication of a Notice of Intent3. The solicitation seeks bidders who will host and manage what is foreseen as a catalyst for mitigating operations challenges and creating more robust supply chains.

The institute will research adoption and integration of AI among US manufacturers, predictive maintenance, process optimization, AIs effects on capital investment, and supply chain risk. The new institute will join a 17-strong Manufacturing USA4 network of platforms created in 2013 and funded partly by companies and NGOs to study an array of technolgies and their applications in manufacturing processes and operations.

That the earmark is in addtion to $280 billion in federal spending authorized by the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act5, underscoring commitment to AI in US business. The initial CHIPS outlay of $52 billion for on-shore microchip manufacturers contains a tax credit for equipment purchases (though AI systems aren’t classed as such by name in the legislation) and a $13 billion allocation for workforce upskilling.