Daimler forms joint venture with Geely to develop electric cars in China
The Germany-based automotive manufacturer, Daimler, is set to develop its next generation of Smart electric cars in China following a joint venture with Geely, according to Reuters.
On Thursday (28 March), Daimler confirmed it would develop the next generation of Smart-branded city cars at a purpose-built factory in China as it planned to share its expertise in manufacturing, engineering and design with Geely.
Under the agreement, the next generation of Smart cars are set to be assembled at a Chinese plant, with sales expected to begin in 2022.
According to CNN Business, CEO Dieter Zetsche wrote in a blog: “Our smallest vehicle still has huge potential – in China and beyond. Geely is the right partner to take advantage of these opportunities.”
It is expected that Daimler and Geely will each own 50% of the global joint venture with financial terms of the deal left undisclosed.
Due to the high cost of electric car batteries making it more difficult for automakers to develop affordable zero-emission vehicles, it has led to a number of them forming alliances with Chinese partners.
The news follows Daimler’s competitors BMW unveiling plans to develop Minis in China with low production costs and the demand in small electric cars increasing.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Coming soon, Fluent.ai will deploy 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’.