The Increased Reliance of the Automotive Industry on Technology

The Increased Reliance of the Automotive Industry on Technology

Manufacturing Technology Insights | Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The automotive industry is adopting AI and AM, and digital twin to address the challenge of designing and manufacturing the next-generation electric vehicles (EV).

FREMONT, CA: Automakers started reinventing themselves as digital firms a few years ago, but since they've recovered from the pandemic's business catastrophe, the necessity to accomplish the digitization journey is more pressing than ever. As more technology-focused competitors embrace and install digital twin-enabled manufacturing processes and move forward with electric vehicles (EVs), connected vehicle services, and potentially autonomous vehicles, they won't have many options.

Car companies will have to make difficult decisions about bringing software development in-house. Many will start developing their vehicle-specific operating systems and computer processors or collaborate with chip companies to build next-generation operating systems and chips for upcoming autonomous vehicles.

How AI is transforming production operations

Artificial intelligence (AI) applications are used in various ways in automotive assembly regions and production lines. New generations of intelligent robots, human-machine interaction, and better-quality assurance procedures are some of them.

While AI is widely used in vehicle design, automobile manufacturers also employ AI and machine learning (ML) in their manufacturing methods. Robotics in assembly lines isn't new as they've been in the field for generations. But these were caged robots that operated in highly restricted areas and did not allow any human intrusion for safety reasons. Smart collaborative robots can collaborate with their human counterparts in a shared manufacturing area due to artificial intelligence. Collaborative robots employ artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and perceive human coworkers and adapt their motions to prevent injuring them.

The emergence of additive manufacturing for production parts

3D printing to manufacture production parts is already commonplace in the automotive sector, which is second only to aerospace and military in its utilization of additive manufacturing (AM). In today's vehicles, a wide range of AM manufactured parts are integrated into the final assembly.

AM will be vital in terms of weight reduction for the developing EV market. Even though this has always been ideal for conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to improve fuel efficiency, it is now more crucial than ever because lower weight can result in significantly longer battery life between charges.

Digital twin optimizes production systems

It is feasible to organize the complete manufacturing process in an entirely virtual environment utilizing a digital twin in automotive production before physically establishing production lines, conveyance systems, and robotic work cells or installing automation and controls. A digital twin can imitate a system while it is running due to its real-time properties.

The use of a digital twin allows for the optimization of every stage of the manufacturing process. Sensor data captured across the system's functional components offer critical input, enabling predictive and prescriptive analytics, and reduces unexpected downtime.

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