Toyota, Panasonic: building lithium-ion batteries in hybrids
The venture reflects the drive of both companies to become bigger global players in an industry essential for the development of affordable EVs.
Prime Plant Energy is 51% owned by Toyota with Panasonic holding the remaining stake. Having been established in April 2020, it is thought that the production line at a Panasonic factory in Tokushima prefecture will have enough capacity to manufacture batteries for around 500,000 vehicles every year.
“The global electric vehicle market is expected to continue growing rapidly,” the company said.
Upon the establishment of the joint venture earlier this year, the two companies will develop highly competitive, cost-effective batteries that are safe and feature excellent quality and performance which enables use with peace of mind by all customers. The joint venture allows for the supply of batteries to not just Toyota but to all customers.
The joint venture allows for Toyota and Panasonic to continue to provide excellent service to their customers while working in tandem with companies to drive sustainability and introduce wide-ranging, added-value solutions such as the supply of energy in the form of batteries.
Panasonic is one of the world’s biggest EV battery makers and is under pressure as a battery supplier to global automakers such as Tesla. The pressure is on from other leading players such as South Korean and Chinese manufacturers Samsung, LG Chem and CATL.
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’.