May 16, 2020

Ford and Baidu set to launch joint venture to test autonomous vehicles in China

Automotive
Automation
self driving
Ford
Sean Galea-Pace
2 min
Ford and Baidu has announced plans to launch a joint venture that will see the two firms collaborate to test autonomous vehicles in China for two years.
The US-based automotive giant, Ford, and Chinese internet company, Baidu, has announced plans to launch a joint venture that will see the two firms coll...

The US-based automotive giant, Ford, and Chinese internet company, Baidu, has announced plans to launch a joint venture that will see the two firms collaborate to test autonomous vehicles in China for two years, CNBC reports.

The agreement will see the two companies team up to develop and test driverless vehicles that meet the Level 4 standard ordered by US industry organisation, SAE International.

In a statement on Wednesday (31 October), Sherif Marakby, President and CEO of Ford's autonomous vehicles unit said: “Working with a leading tech partner like Baidu allows us to leverage new opportunities in China to offer innovative solutions that improve safety, convenience and the overall mobility experience.”

“This project marks a new milestone in the partnership between Ford and Baidu, and supports Ford's vision to design smart vehicles that transform how we get around.”

See more:

With Ford’s self-driving vehicles already kitted out with Baidu’s autonomous driving system, Apollo, the on-road testing of the driverless vehicles is expected to start by the end of 2018.

“Baidu and Ford both believe in using technology to redefine the future of mobility” Zhenyu Li, Vice President and General Manager of Baidu's intelligent driving group.

“This project will combine our leading-edge technological know-how and understanding of China together with Ford's vehicle expertise, marking a significant step forward towards Baidu's goal of developing autonomous driving vehicles that will greatly benefit future consumers.”

The companies are yet to confirm the financial terms or ownership structure details of the collaboration.

Share article

May 12, 2021

Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers

SmartManufacturing
DigitalTransformation
DigitalFactory
ConnectedFactory
2 min
57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support smart manufacturing digitalisation

With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.

While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.

“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.

“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”

Change Management

Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.

“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.

Technology and People

While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.

“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.

Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.

Discover Gartner's Five Best Practices for Post COVID-19 Innovation' in manufacturing.

Image source

Share article