Hitachi Rail wins £400mn UK train contract from Abellio
Abellio was recently awarded the East Midlands Railw...
Hitachi Rail has been awarded a £400mn (US$487.7mn) contract by public transport company Abellio.
Abellio was recently awarded the East Midlands Railway franchise by the UK government, which runs for eight years. The contract will see Hitachi build and deliver 165 intercity carriages to replace existing fleets. Describing the trains as state of the art, Abellio highlighted features such as air conditioning, free wifi and lower emissions.
Dominic Booth, Abellio (UK) Managing Director said: “These new trains form the centrepiece of our ambitious plans for a complete replacement of all the trains on the East Midlands Railway and are a more than £600 million investment to really improve the region’s railway. They will respond to what our passengers have told us they want with more frequent services, faster journeys between the East Midlands and London, and provide more capacity with 80% more seats into London in the morning peak”.
The trains are to be manufactured in Hitachi Rail’s County Durham, UK factory which is said to have worked with 65 different East Midlands suppliers.
Karen Boswell, Managing Director for Hitachi Rail UK, said: “Today’s announcement will be welcomed in workshops and engineering centres across the country, thanks to our large network of UK suppliers. Our train factory in County Durham sources train parts from across the country, including a significant amount from the region where the new trains will run. Hitachi is delighted that EMR passengers will soon be receiving the very latest model of our new intercity trains, which are already proving popular and increasing satisfaction among passengers in other parts of the country”.
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’.