COVID-19: EV companies begin manufacturing medical equipment
Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, big brands within the automotive industry have been offering their production services to boost medical equipment.
To help increase the current supply of medical equipment needed in order to manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, big brands within the automotive industry are offering their manufacturing services to produce the equipment needed to manage the outbreak.
Leading the way within the industry is Chinese electric vehicle maker Build Your Dreams (BYD), which has begun production on 5 million face masks, as well as up to 500,000 bottles of disinfectant per day.
In a company statement, BYD stated that the additional supplies will “help alleviate severe shortages that have affected hospitals and agencies across China in the face of the global COVID-19 outbreak.”
Being ground zero for the outbreak, China has been hit hard by the virus and although transmissions are now reportedly contained, around 80,000 people have been infected.
BYD reportedly began its manufacturing of ‘high-quality’ face masks at the beginning of February, after appointing a special task force which is operating day and night in order to help with the containment of the COVID-19 outbreak.
To produce these ‘high-quality’ face masks, BYD has completed research and development, as well as building mask manufacturing equipment within seven days, as well as increasing its capacity to another five to 10 new mask manufacturing machines each day.
“A production line for high-quality face masks requires about 1,300 parts for various gears, chains, and rollers, 90% of which is BYD’s self-made parts,” Sherry Li, Director-General of BYD’s president office, said in a statement.
Another piece of equipment facing shortage is ventilators. Currently, the UK has over 2,700 cases of COVID-19, with only 5,000 ventilators.
Auto manufacturer Nissan is assisting a consortium founded in response to the UK Prime Minister's prevention strategy, which also includes the likes of Meggitt and Mclaren, to help with the development of basic ventilator prototypes.
Nissan will focus on the manufacturing of ventilators alongside Meggitt (who produces oxygen systems for aircrafts) and McLaren to add its design expertise. The consortium is striving to build 5,000 more ventilators as soon as possible, with ambitions to build 30,000 which is expected to begin within one month.
In addition to these big manufacturers, Tesla is also looking to lend a hand to help with the efforts in the US. Currently, the car manufacturer is already using bio-weapon-level air filters for its electric vehicles, which could be utilised for current outbreak efforts. “We will make ventilators if there is a shortage,” said Elon Musk on Twitter.
General Motors and Ford, who contributed to the war efforts in world war II with the production of aeroplanes and tanks, is also in talks with the US government as to determine how they can help with the production of ventilators.
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Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.