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How BMW makes use of AI to make automobile meeting extra environment friendly

Synthetic intelligence is making an enormous impact on the auto {industry}.

Income from gross sales of autonomous autos is anticipated to prime $70 billion by 2033, in keeping with Future Market Insights. However self-driving vehicles powered by AI should not the one change — AI know-how is already being infused into automobile manufacturing. 

As a part of that industry-wide pattern, the BMW Group is now shifting gears to rely extra closely on AI to create a leaner and extra environment friendly manufacturing course of. 

Inside BMW’S plant Spartanburg in South Carolina.


Over the previous few years, BMW has upgraded its Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant to incorporate new AI capabilities. The manufacturing facility spans greater than 8 million sq. toes and produces about 60% of all BMWs offered within the U.S. That works out to greater than 1,500 autos produced every day.

Within the physique store, robots weld between 300 and 400 steel studs onto the body of each SUV. That is about half one million studs every day utilized by machines and now managed by AI. 

The meeting line inside BMW’s plant Spartanburg.


Additional down the road, AI know-how checks to make sure each stud is exactly positioned, in keeping with BMW Group Supervisor Curtis Tingle. If a stud is misplaced, the system tells the robots to appropriate it. No human intervention is required.

“It is a totally closed loop,” Tingle informed CNBC. “[AI] removes the human pondering, the human handbook intervention, immediately out of the equation.”

Tingle mentioned the brand new know-how has dramatically improved effectivity. “We’re reaching 5 instances of what we thought was even doable earlier than, with what the AI is reaching now.”

A BMW employee on the AI Stud Correction Station.


In line with Tingle, the AI stud correction laser has already saved the corporate greater than $1 million a 12 months. The brand new tech, he mentioned, has allowed BMW to take away six employees from the road.

BMW informed CNBC the AI know-how is patent pending and was developed contained in the Spartanburg plant.

On the manufacturing facility flooring, BMW Group’s IT Mission Lead Camille Roberts explains new AI software program helps pace up the automaker’s present inspection course of.

As SUVs transfer down the road, 26 totally different cameras all through the ground snap photographs. That is when, in keeping with Roberts, “the AI kicks in, figuring out points and flagging them for a human to repair,” thus stopping an imperfect automobile from getting shipped out.

BMW’S AIQX digicam inspecting autos.


Roberts informed CNBC that earlier than the brand new AI improve, human employees could not examine each automobile to the extent they’ll now, including, “it is not likely humanly doable to examine each single automotive. … The manufacturing numbers simply would not meet the worldwide demand.” 

Oliver Bilstein, BMW Group’s vp of logistics and manufacturing management, mentioned there’s nonetheless room to run for BMW’s AI know-how.

Employees on the plant put on what Bilstein calls manufacturing facility scanner units that take measurements and high-resolution pictures of each centimeter of the manufacturing facility.

These pictures are used to construct a 3D “digital twin” of the plant, permitting BMW to immediately make changes and perceive the way it will have an effect on manufacturing earlier than it implements a change in the actual world, Bilstein mentioned. BMW manufacturing facility planners world wide can entry these detailed plans on-line. 

With the assistance of latest AI software program, the scanning course of now takes days as a substitute of months, Bilstein mentioned.

Finally, this sort of AI know-how will be capable to be taught, by itself, the best way to uncover and advocate new methods to make the BMW Group’s automated meeting line much more environment friendly, he mentioned.

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