Brazilian oil and gas giant Petrobras to focus on robotics and AI

The company is looking to work with startups to address its business needs through emergent technologies.

Brazilian oil and gas giant Petrobras is looking to ramp up its efforts around areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics through a program of work with startups.

The tender launched on Wednesday (4) seeks to attract projects from small innovative ventures that address challenges proposed by the company for the creation of offerings based on technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, wearables and nanotechnology.

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According to the tender notice, up to 10 projects across six different areas will be supported by the program, with 10 million reais ($2.4 million) being invested in total, with individual projects receiving funding that will range between 500.000 reais ($122.000) and 1.5 million reais ($299.000).

Projects will be delivered under a maximum timescale of two years. Benefits to startups outlined by the company beyond the funding include interactions with the technical staff at Petrobras, as well as support from the company in tackling challenges related to the development of proofs of concept.

The program has been developed in partnership with the Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises (Sebrae). The call for submission of projects will be open until September 22.

A study carried out by Brazilian think-tank Fundação Getúlio Vargas commissioned by Microsoft, which investigated the impact of AI on key markets in Brazil - agriculture, transport, communications, oil and gas and government - which collectively represent 36.4 percent of GDP, found that AI could boost GDP growth across these sectors by up to 6,43 percent over the next 15 years.