Tesla reveals its plans to explore the use of augmented reality within its production lines
With spending on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies predicted to surpass $50bn by 2022, with the manufacturing industry firmly at the forefront, Tesla has recently filed a new patent to explore the use of AR to bolster its productivity and operational efficiency across its factory lines, in alignment with the emergence of Industry 4.0.
In an abstract, the company has stated: "A series of images of a physical environment are obtained. At least a portion of an object detected in the series of obtained images is identified. A deviance from a reference property associated with the detected object is detected using the series of images. Information associated with the deviance is provided via an augmented reality device."
- Daimler is set to acquire $23bn in battery cells, accelerating its electrification strategy
- The Trades Union Congress calls for manufacturing job shortages to be tackled by 2030
- Daimler launches two new bus models as part of its connected strategy
Noting that the automotive industry is facing a number of challenges across the production line, the company outlines that such technology will support “the positioning and programming of robots for constructing and assembling automotive parts, the placement of mechanical joints, the quality inspection of assembled plants, etc.” Introducing such technology will improve the accuracy and build of new vehicles, reduce the time and cost, as well as accelerate further development and support the growing relationship between employee and robotics.
The use of AR will therefore work to utilise vast quantities of data and images, providing vital information in real-time across the factory floor. The patent highlights that such tools will complement “the use of AR device such as a smartphone that includes a camera and sensors or a pair of AR smart glasses.” Tesla is known for trialling Google Glass’ headset, but is unclear whether these are still in use at the company.
Throughout the patent, the company notes that “the AR device overlays data corresponding to features of the object of interest … examples include spot welds, self-pierced rivets, laser welds, structural adhesive, and sealers, amongst others.” Replacing traditional manual processes, such new tools will reduce time to market, use of redundant materials and lower costs across its operations.
A diagram within the patent was also provided, which has been illustrated below.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.