Maserati and Airbus join forces as part of a 'master agreement'
Two manufacturing greats, Maserati and Airbus have joined forces as part of a ‘master agreement’ that will give the Italian automotive marque access to a treasure trove of Airbus technologies and techniques.
Maserati will not be moving into aerospace manufacturing anytime soon, however Harald Wester, CEO (also the chief technology officer for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) said there is much the brand can gain from the exclusive partnership.
“By evaluating this broad spectrum of technologies, Maserati can benefit from Airbus Group capabilities exploited in several applications, such as airliners, helicopters and fast jets to spacecraft that are exploring the universe,” he said.
Wester said that Maserati will explore Airbus’s portfolio, in a bid to identify manufacturing processes, production methods, metallurgy and composites expertise, systems integration, “and other know-how” compatible with automotive development and production.
Wulf Hoeflich, Airbus Group technology licensing chief said the agreement is one step in a wider plan to license the company’s technologies and expertise to partner groups.
“We developed the Technology Transfer Framework with industry leaders such as Maserati in mind, and it is being selectively offered to a limited number of potential partners,” he said.
“Maserati is perfect for an agreement of this type, as the company is a benchmark in high-end automobiles, while having production volume that is flexible enough to implement new technologies.”
According to reports, the luxury automaker is hoping this multi-year agreement will be a ‘game-changer’ as it continues to develop vehicles for the prestige car market, such as the new Quattroporte and Ghibli models.
The Italian carmaker is receiving 3,500 orders a month and is looking at around 42,000 sales for the calendar year - well ahead of the 15,400 cars sold in 2013. In 2015, Maserati will grow its line-up with the launch of its long-expected Levante SUV, along with a new sports model based on the popular Alfieri concept.
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’.