Hitachi Rail Europe confirms $131mn agreement to develop high-speed trains from London to Edinburgh
Hitachi Rail Europe has confirmed a $131mn agreement to develop new high-speed trains that link London with Edinburgh at its Newton Aycliffe plant, according to The Northern Echo.
Set to build five electric intercity trains of five carriages each, the agreement will be maintained by Hitachi for the next 10 years with trains anticipated to commence service in 2021.
Following the company’s announcement this morning, a spokesperson commented: “Whilst today’s small bespoke order is welcome, it does not address the pressing needs of our Newton Aycliffe factory. We are currently working around the clock to secure substantial work for Newton Aycliffe, which after spring 2020, currently has no pipeline of orders.”
The spokesperson continued: “Since their introduction on the Great Western route, we’ve seen passenger satisfaction rates increase as they receive modern and reliable trains. Soon, we will have our Azuma trains on the East Coast main line deliver the same benefits to passengers. In the coming months we will be looking to secure major new intercity train contracts for Newton Aycliffe to build. It is these major contracts which will support the long-term skilled jobs we have created in the North East.”
Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, added: “Our Japanese-bullet train inspired fleet will play a vital role in supporting FirstGroup’s exciting new service. These trains have been designed to increase the number of seats available whilst harnessing the latest in comfort design to boost passenger experiences.
“Today’s deal extends our long-term relationship with FirstGroup, who already use our pioneering intercity trains in other parts of the country to boost reliability and passenger satisfaction.”
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’.