Ford production to benefit from Ericsson’s 5G connectivity
As part of a new European Commission and European ICT industry-backed initiative to drive Industry 4.0, Ford Motor Company will benefit from Ericsson's 5G connectivity at its engine production plant in Valencia, Spain.
“New technologies can vastly improve production line efficiency, therefore increasing innovation capacity. This is essential given today’s competitive environment, and 5G is an instrumental tool to help us achieve this objective,” commented Alejandro del Portillo, Manufacturing Engineering and New Technologies Department, Ford’s Valencia Engine Plant.
5G connectivity trials in Valencia, Spain
Known as 5G-INDUCE, the pilot initiative is part of Horizon 2020 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (5G-PPP) – a joint initiative between the European Commission and the European ICT industry.
Other partners of the initiative include: ASTI Mobile Robotics, Fivecomm, YBVR, Intel, Gestoos, University of Burgos and Universitat Politecnica de Valencia.
As part of the initiative, the main next-generation capabilities to be tested at the facility include: autonomous automated guided vehicles (AGV) fleet management, smart AGV operations based on human gesture recognition and virtual reality (VR) applications.
The aim of the pilot is to optimise logistics processes and distribution chains in the factory warehouses to improve efficiency for Ford. As part of its efforts in the pilot Ericsson will enable edge computing, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence.
“The potential of 5G technology is being unlocked as digitalization of industries is advancing and as more and more complementary players partner to shape new innovation ecosystems,” added Manuel Lorenzo, Head of Technology and Innovation, Ericsson Spain.
“The 5G-INDUCE project is a great example of this momentum – gathering world-class innovation in Industry 4.0, robotics, 5G, edge computing, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and counting on the support of the EU 5G-PPP program. Ericsson is glad to contribute with our technology and expertise in 5G solutions to the success of this initiative,” concluded Lorenzo.
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’.