Volkswagen Group to build six Gigafactories in Europe
Stepping up the pace of its transformation to be “the leading provider of individual mobility in the electric and fully connected age,” has set bold ambitions to systematically enhance its platform strategy , which will be based on largely standardised technical foundations.
The Group’s new platform roadmap will include four elements, hardware, software, batteries and charging, and mobility services, to reduce complexity, leverage economies of scale and synergies between brands, and generally accelerate the Group’s transformation.
“Electrification and digitalisation are changing the vehicle faster and more radically than ever before. Economies of scale are absolutely critical for both issues. Our platform roadmap will put us in an even better position to tap the full potential of our Group alliance. By pooling the strengths of our strong brands, we will thus be able to scale up our future technologies even faster and maximize the number of people benefiting from them,” commented Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft.
Volkswagen’s platform strategy for batteries and charging
To begin in 2023, Volkswagen Group plans to introduce a unified cell to be scaled around the world. By 2030, Volkswagen plans to have the unified cell installed in 80 per cent of all its electric vehicles across its brands, reducing the cost of battery cells by up to 50 per cent in the entry level segment, and up to 30 per cent in the volume segment.
In order to ensure that it meets the demand for battery cells, Volkswagen Group - alongside its partners - plans to build six cell factories (Gigafactories) with a total capacity of 240 gigawatt hours in Europe by the end of the decade.
Volkswagen Group’s ‘big electric offensive’
With ambitions to be a global market leader in electric mobility by 2025, Volkswagen Group reports that it more than tripled its sales of all-electric vehicles in 2020.
To continue its ambitions, Volkswagen Group plans to invest €46 billion in electric mobility and hybridisation over the next five years.
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’.