The future of automotive manufacturing
The automotive Industry has become increasingly competitive in the past few years with manufacturers and brands jostling for a leadership position in both international and local markets. Automotive manufacturers need to find innovative new ways of differentiating themselves by streamlining processes and reducing costs within their dealer networks and supply chains. Efficient information and communication technology systems are at the heart of this.
Further impacting the automotive industry is the move towards lower fuel consumption and a greener environment, giving rise to electric cars or e-cars. This is possible through collaboration between energy providers, IT enterprise and automotive manufacturers, creating a powerhouse of innovation and possibilities that can reduce the cost of travelling whilst lessening the impact on our environment.
The importance of IT solutions
The importance of IT for automotive manufacturing is seeing significant upswing, particularly with regard to lowering the cost of manufacturing as well as adding value to core business processes. Streamlining production, optimising processes and understanding exactly how long expected production times are for any particular automotive component, are all key in accurate planning and forecasting of resources. Technology can enable automotive manufacturers to accurately calculate production times, synchronise production, improve planning and control and more. This ultimately leads not only to reduced costs but improved quality as well.
Centralising this across multiple distributed locations presents a challenge that connected technology and intelligence solutions are perfectly poised to address. Standardising processes across the globe, consolidating suppliers and optimising costs in the production process requires the support of sophisticated IT from a global partner. Such a partner is also perfectly positioned to provide strategic direction, as well as contribute significantly towards lowering the cost of production as well as research and development.
R&D and 3d printing
Innovative enhancements delivered by IT partners can also assist automotive manufacturers to gain an important competitive edge. One example of such innovation is 3D printing platforms. Using 3D printing in the R&D and production spaces can help to improve costs and enhance agility, among other benefits. Developing and printing components can be conducted at a lower cost to produce the finished product, at a faster pace, without upsetting the production time. In addition, turnaround time for changes is far faster and more cost effective, and alterations can be made on the fly, providing unprecedented levels of agility.
Within the e-car space, there are many opportunities for IT to partner with automotive and other players in this space. For example, IT provides the backend platforms that enable public charging payment and management systems, which are essential in the uptake of e-cars.
Commercial property owners can use the provision of e-car charging stations as a point of differentiation and a value add for customers, helping to generate additional footfall. There are also opportunities for enterprise development regarding charging station ownership and management. Green energy is an essential component of the Smart City concept and in providing zero distance between Governments and citizens, as well as businesses and customers. This technology will see significant growth in the future.
The 'connect car' concept
In addition, connected technology can aid automotive manufacturers in differentiating themselves from the competition. By effectively enabling the ‘connected car’ concept, automotive manufacturers can leverage proactive, direct consumer contact, which aids in the development of new revenue streams, as well as continuous product improvement through more effective customer feedback. This can also assist with process optimisation and cost reduction in fleet management and logistics, amongst other benefits.
At its heart, the automotive sector is a business like any other, generating data that needs to be analysed for more effective future operations. The core technology systems used by business across various other industries stand to provide enormous benefit in a sector that faces increasing challenges from many sides.
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’.