Dr Olusola Ayoola, the founder of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Nigeria (RAIN), has given an insight into the impressive work young Nigerians are doing in the field of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence after he set up a centre to coach and mentor them.
RAIN is a research and innovation centre focused on the creation of artificial intelligence-enabled technologies.
The founder, Dr Ayoola, is a robotics engineer and he leads research at RAIN.
He is also a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Dr Ayoola got his Bachelors Degree from the University of Ibadan in 2011 and graduated with a First Class. He proceeded to do his Masters at the University of Manchester.
He also got a scholarship by the UK government to do a doctorate degree in Robotics for extreme environments.
He came up with the idea to start RAIN when he was in the UK and noticed the company he was working with sends projects to China. China then works on the projects, sends back to the company and he trouble shoots and fixes the faults to get it to standard.
He said this got him thinking “why send it to China” when Nigerians can be trained to do the same job?
However, he said that when he called his friends in Nigeria, asking if they have experience with “this language or that language”, they said they didn’t.
“So, I felt, maybe someone needs to teach Nigerians, so when we can do hardware, we can begin to attract jobs from abroad,” Dr Olusola said, explaining how RAIN was born in Nigeria.
Now, he has interns from different universities in Nigeria and abroad working on innovative solutions at RAIN.
He explained: “What we do at RAIN is that we do a lot of training and research in the area of robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence).”
He added that some of their trainees studied abroad and the training they get at RAIN “is at par” with what foreign universities are offering.
Dr Olusola introduced his students and interns and the innovative projects they are working on in episode 6 of First Class Material season 2.
One of them is working on a self-driving car that detects IEDs (improvised explosive device). Another is working on a virtual cheque that allows bank customers cash their cheques without going to the bank.
RAIN also trains children in the area of Robotics, 3D design, Internet of Things (IOT), e.t.c.
The work RAIN is currently doing is considered minor compared to the projects the centre intends to undertake in the future.
Speaking about RAIN’s future, Mrs Aminat Ayoola, a Director at RAIN said: “In the next five years I see RAIN as a University where we will have different departments with areas of specialisation.”
Dr Ayoola said: “In the next five to ten years, I see RAIN as the main contributor of technology in Africa. I see RAIN making Nigeria the China of Africa.”
He added: “I see RAIN as the centre of Nigeria’s technological advancement in the future.”
First Class Material, a docuseries that shines the spotlight on outstanding Nigerians, is brought to you by Linda Ikeji TV and sponsored by First Bank of Nigeria.
Watch episode 6 of season 2 below.