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How AI is Shifting Gears with Intelligent Automation

Published on
May 25, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being adopted by industries around the world as organizations seek to uncover new efficiencies and capabilities. Adopters of AI are improving business processes and boosting their profitability while creating better experience for their customers and their employees through intelligent automation.AI systems are not just changing how we interact with our devices and digital virtual assistants; they’re also impacting production efficiencies in the manufacturing sector – and the automotive industry is no exception.“Robots” and their automation precursors have been a part of automotive manufacturing for some time – their origins can be dated back to the Ford Motor Company’s first moving assembly line in 1913. Ever since, technology advances which fine-tune factory production processes have remained a key element of the industry. Today, AI and intelligent automation is the next logical step in advancing how automotive manufacturers design and prototype products, then produce and deliver them.From driverless cars to fueling efficient factoriesMany consumers are aware of advances the industry has made in bringing self-driving cars to public roads. But driverless cars aren’t only the most visible AI element in play.Robotics and AI technologies such as machine learning (which allows computers to learn without explicit programming) are changing how cars are being manufactured. Moreover, as McKinsey describes, AI is transforming everything in the sector from research and design, through to project management, and business support functions. By understanding and organizing unstructured data sources such as photos, images, and speech, machines in the production side of the auto industry are beginning to learn from the past to improve future performance.There is an industry emphasis on a people partnership with AI. It’s not about replacing, but instead augmenting, human capabilities – creating a more productive environment of human-machine interaction, using more context-aware AI-enhanced robots that work alongside teams of people.One aspect of this is workplace safety in the auto industry. Robots that are revolutionizing assembly lines with greater speed, consistency, and efficiency are making jobs that were once more dangerous, safer for human workers. Machinery intelligent enough to replace human counterparts is decreasing common workplace injuries. As an example, forklifts can now be automated to prevent loading accidents.Predictive maintenance and supply chain improvementsBeyond automation and increasing safety in production environments, machine learning is being used to help with predictive maintenance in the auto industry. It works by gathering and interpreting unstructured data related to the manufacturing process, then organizing it correctly to uncover new insights and patterns. The data is translated into insights which are able to predict machine failures or maintenance issues before they happen, streamlining the entire manufacturing process. McKinsey estimates that AI will deliver the industry a 20% increase in equipment availability, up to 25% lower inspection costs, and up to 10% lower total annual maintenance costs.Relatedly, AI is having an impact on Quality Assurance (QA) as machine learning can catch errors and manufacturing defects that a human inspector could not – with figures of 90% greater accuracy expected.Similar AI-based methodologies are also improving the supply chain. Using real-time data about the weather, for instance, these systems can predict potential supply chain disruptions, reducing forecasting errors by 20-50% and reducing overall inventories by a further 20-50%. This saves overstocking costs and lowers supply chain risk.This kind of value is why we see automotive manufacturers investing in a range of AI and machine learning technologies. By 2025, that industry-wide, AI-enabled opportunity will reach an annual, global value of approximately of $215 billion.Appen: A key industry partner for automotive AI technologyAI technology is accelerating the automotive industry in several new and exciting ways, changing not only how vehicles are manufactured, but also how they interact with the world around them.Appen has spent the last 15 years developing and demonstrating our expertise in the automotive industry, working with the leading Tier 1 suppliers and 7 of the Top 10 Global OEMs. With support for 35+ languages, Appen helps train and test machine learning and AI systems to assist with improving self-driving vehicles, enhance voice recognition, and analyze human sentiment.To learn more about Appen’s data solutions in this exciting sector, visit appen.com/industries/automotive/.

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