21 Jan Self-parking cars impact the future for auto manufacturers
Self-parking cars are coming to American streets. In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved models for a vehicle that is able to park itself, stating the technology met the requirements within the Federal Motor Safety Standard. According to CNN, BMW will be the first company to unveil the technology, with its debut likely coming in 2017.
At the Detroit International Auto Show, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke glowingly of BMW’s plan, explaining that the first proposal the automaker had for a self-parking vehicle was rejected by the DOT. But the company went back to the drawing board and made the proper corrections, improving on safety before re-submitting their idea. Foxx encouraged other car companies to take this approach in the future, re-working their plans to improve the driver experience.
“We are taking a fresh look at current regulations to see where new interpretations can be made, and we are asking manufacturers to continue to ask us to examine our regulations,” Foxx said. “And, finally, we are asking manufacturers to request exemptions where they believe automation advances can be deployed safely.”
For automotive manufacturers, this innovative approach can mean a great amount of possibilities for future production. New developments are going to change how vehicles are designed and produced. It also may impact the types of parts that need to be manufactured. With changes like self-parking technology being approved for production, and other upgrades coming in the future, a manufacturing business must do everything it can to keep up with the times and be on the cutting edge of the changes within the transportation sector.
Different fixes to the same issue
BMW is not the only automaker that has been developing self-parking vehicles. According to Fortune magazine, a pair of other car companies also are working on the same type of devices, but with drastically different approaches. Nissan is creating a step-by-step procedure that will allow any type of driver behind the wheel of one of their cars to use the parking assist feature. A prototype of the design debuted earlier this year, with the hope that the feature will gain DOT approval and be available in vehicles by 2018.
“New developments are going to change how vehicles are designed and produced.”
Meanwhile Tesla has created its own self-parking technology that can be used in its cars right now. The company has created software that owners of their Model S electric vehicle can download, helping the vehicle measure distances from the curb and instruct it how to find its way into parking spots.
Both tactics are different than the BMW model that Foxx praised in Detroit. In that model, the driver exits the car, though they must be within six feet of the vehicle for the technology to work. Once outside, the driver uses a remote control that triggers sensors and cameras within the car. The remote also allows the driver to stop the automatic parking process whenever they chose, CNN reported.
For manufacturers, the multiple approaches to the same issue offer an intriguing test case. By studying how BMW, Nissan and Tesla each approach their product, and which approach users find works best, it could impact what the future holds for self-parking technology and other advances within automotive manufacturing.
As the automotive industry continues to change, more new innovations will emerge. The production and sales of electric cars have grown in recent years, something that was unheard of just a decade ago. If self-parking cars are indeed the next big trend, it will represent another change for manufacturers, one that could lead to great growth if a business is ready for what the new technology needs.
Value in MES
With changes coming for automotive manufacturing businesses, having a manufacturing execution system is not only helpful, it’s a downright necessity. An MES can oversee business operations, allowing a company to make smarter decisions while saving time. Given how quickly the industry changes, having an outside source to oversee production can prove to be a huge benefit.
“Having a manufacturing execution system is not only helpful, it’s a downright necessity.”
Atachi NGIMES is an innovative software program custom designed to help automotive manufacturing businesses. The system analyzes data in real time and helps business leaders make informed choices on what the company should focus on or how to get the greatest results. With a focus on quality processes and upgraded tracking features, manufacturing companies can analyze how technology like self-parking should be approached moving forward.
The DOT’s approval of BMW’s plan for self-parking cars is just the start; for an automotive manufacturer, that is exciting. The possibilities of the technology could mean a great boost to a business, but only if processes taken are in line with what customers and automakers are looking for.
Having the support of an MES like NGIMES is so important to make sure automotive manufacturers stay current on what the rest of the industry is doing.
7 Jan Software is changing auto manufacturing
It used to be that when discussing cars, terms like “miles per hour,” “horsepower” and “fuel efficiency” were the most important. Dealerships would stress to customers how well an automobile would perform in everyday use for the entire family, or how many miles one filling of the gas tank would provide for highway driving. Keeping a car in good condition for an extended period of time meant having a strong engine that could handle years of use, and tires that would withstand various weather elements.
These factors still play a role in the discussion of automobiles, but as technology has evolved, so too has the conversation about what is most important in a new car. With advanced software programs now commonplace inside vehicles, customers have begun placing new priorities on what they are looking for from a car they’re considering purchasing. Manufacturing companies must be aware of these changes in thinking, as well as the impact new software will have on their own business.
Customers who used to focus on technical excellence now have shifted their attention to electronics. An automotive manufacturer that can take advantage of this new way of thinking will be well positioned when the time comes to sell its products to the public.
The value of software in vehicles
The growth in electronics within automobiles has coincided with a population that constantly wants to stay connected, especially when it comes to their smartphones. That even holds true when people are driving, with music-playing applications, text message conversations, GPS maps and every other part of a phone still at a driver’s fingertips. The desire to use everything a device offers is sometimes too much to resist. Merging electronics with the phone, or being able to replicate everything a mobile device has to offer on a car’s dashboard, allows a car owner to be connected when they are on the road.
California-based automaker Tesla is seen to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution, so much so that other companies are looking to replicate their success. According to MLive, Ford and other automakers have developed research operations near Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters to learn more about automotive software technologies.
Along with connecting to drivers’ smartphones through Bluetooth and making the vehicles themselves Wi-Fi hotspots, the electronic manufacturing steps some cars are taking now go beyond where some customers could have ever imagined. Again, Tesla is the leader of this revolution. The Tesla Model S has a software update that allows the vehicle to change lanes in traffic and parallel park itself, without any extra hardware required by the driver, according to the company.
Electronic upgrades such as these have changed what customers have come to expect from vehicles. It has also altered what automotive manufacturing companies must be able to provide because the technology to stay connected and electronically navigate vehicles has proven to work. Many automakers are now trying to keep up and stay in tune with the latest trends.
Fortune magazine explained that already, companies such as Hyundai and BMW have worked with smartphone makers to connect mobile devices to center-screen dashboards to improve the connectability of drivers. From accessing map applications to making hands-free phone calls, the software within a car allows owners to stay connected while on the go. Given that car customers have become more tech-savvy, auto manufacturers see the value in doing the same.
Why oversight is needed
For automotive manufacturing companies, the change in thinking by the industry has made a direct impact on the work being produced. Drivers want to purchase cars with advanced electronic software inside, so that is what companies must provide. And not only does the software have to be beneficial now – it must sustain itself. Nearly 80 percent of car owners stated in an AutoMD study that they plan to keep their vehicles for 10 or more years, or until the car dies.
An automotive manufacturing company can help keep pace by using cloud-supported software, such as NGIMES from Atachi. The program collects and studies data, helping a business improve efficiency while keeping costs down. Figuring out the best way to integrate software within cars is a time-consuming experience, as well as an expensive one. Oversight from NGIMES can clarify the process so that a company can deliver what customers want as quickly as possible.
Measure performance and monitor excellence by acquiring Atachi’s NGIMES for automotive manufacturing. With increased responsiveness that can match customer demands, the cloud-supported program is a necessity for any business that wants to boost its presence in the automotive software landscape.
29 Dec Cloud software boosts automotive 3D printing
Automobile manufacturers are always on the lookout for the next great breakthrough to improve production and increase efficiency. For the last few years, those within the industry have speculated that 3D printing would be the next big trend, but developers struggled to determine how the technology would play a role in the creation of vehicles.
Those issues have since been resolved, and 3D printing is set to play a huge part in the way manufacturing companies create and build cars. With the ability to increase flexibility and reduce risk, the advancements in 3D printing are viewed as a tremendous breakthrough for car companies. Materials can be designed and developed faster and better than ever before.
Data from Research and Market showed that many car manufacturers are ramping up their investment and production of 3D printing. In 2015, the 3D printing market for automotive businesses is measured at 3.49 million kilograms – a huge leap from where it was even a few years prior. However in the next five years, the use of the technology will continue its tremendous growth, up to 11.53 million kilograms by 2020.
Before many automakers are able to take full advantages of everything the technology has to offer, manufacturers must have a plan in place for collecting data and lowering total cost of ownership. Because oversight is so important, a proper strategy for 3D printing can help guide an automobile manufacturer.
With greater flexibility comes risk
Among the benefits of 3D printing, especially for vehicle manufacturers, is that it expands the possibilities of design. As 3Dprint.com explained, automakers can create customized features, improving upon the design of a car previously thought to have been perfected. The weight of auto parts can be lowered, making the car lighter and easier to drive, while wiring can be placed through hollow features to make brakes and mufflers work more efficiently.
The great possibilities of the car design also give dealerships greater flexibility. By having more options to sell customers, car companies can improve the chances that anyone who enters their store will walk away with a vehicle they are looking for.
“The great possibilities of the car design also give dealerships greater flexibility.”
Along with greater flexibility, the constantly advancing technology is also changing how the cars are made. Some companies are already using the printers to do more than just make parts or ease the manufacturing process. Motoburn wrote that some automakers are already using printers to create body-shells of hybrid vehicles. The materials used are mostly carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, which should hold up more safely in crashes than many traditionally manufactured cars.
However, as manufacturers become more comfortable with the 3D printers and the different customizations they can make, the risk involved with the process should decline. As it stands now, many companies have concerns about the durability and longevity of the parts they are printing. Those issues are being worked out, Auto Cheat Sheet stated. With so many of the world’s top auto manufacturers now investing in 3D printing, the risk has evolved from low-quality parts to keeping up with the competition. The best way for a company to ensure it is staying competitive is by having an advanced manufacturing engineering system for oversight.
Cloud oversight helps business run better
Some auto manufacturers have been doing the same thing for so long that any sort of change can be present a huge adjustment to their TCO. Buying new technology such as a 3D printer is a large cost for a business, and the return on investment may not come right away.
A cloud-based MES, such as NGIMES from Atachi, helps ease some of those risks. The software program provides instant access to analytics, so manufacturers can determine how well 3D printing is working for their business. Businesses can also track the TCO of specific products or features, so when they make adjustments to their vehicles because of 3D printers, they are better able to determine what value that will have.
As 3D printing becomes more popular, auto manufacturers will be forced to develop a strategy for its implementation and use. Using NGIMES is the best way to guarantee everything runs according to plan.
19 Nov Investment in robotics highlights evolving auto technology
Technology is constantly evolving, and the new innovations that are being developed can radically modify how business is done. Automobile manufacturing has gone through many of these changes already, with more modifications to the industry on the horizon. As companies look to increase productivity while lowering costs, their investment into technology is expected to grow.
Toyota recently made one of the largest technological investments the automotive industry has ever seen. In early November, the Japanese automaker announced it had invested $1 billion in robotics, looking to continue their push to be the industry’s leader in self-driving vehicles and other technologies involving artificial intelligence. The money will partially go to new research facilities and manufacturing plants in Palo Alto, California, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The new buildings will have approximately 200 employees and begin work in January.
Previously, Toyota had announced partnerships through a $50 million investment with prestigious universities in those cities – Stanford and Harvard – to assist in the research of artificial intelligence, Manufacturing.Net reported.
Changing how cars are built and driven
In a new release, Toyota’s CEO and executive technical advisor, Dr. Gill Pratt, detailed three goals for the auto manufacturer as a result of its investment in robotics. Gill said that with the assistance of artificial intelligence, Toyota wants to:
- Improve driver and passenger safety by lowering the chances a car will be involved in an accident.
- Make driving more accessible for everyone, despite their abilities on the road.
- Use Toyota’s technology to people travel not only outdoors, but also indoors. This would be especially useful for senior citizens who have difficulty seeing or controlling machinery.
“Toyota recently made one of the largest technological investments the automotive industry has ever seen.”
Dr. Pratt will be leading the research in both California and Massachusetts, Car and Driver reported. The goal is that Toyota can create a robot-controlled vehicle that is both safe to ride in and is focused on the conservation of resources.
Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president, said in the news release the company is taking advantage of updated technology to better their overall product.
“As technology continues to progress, so does our ability to improve products,” Toyoda said. “At Toyota, we do not pursue innovation simply because we can; we pursue it because we should. It is our responsibility to make life better for our customers, and society as a whole.”
By decreasing the chances a car is in an accident, Toyota is hoping to make the road safer for everybody. That is why Pratt stressed his three goals, stating that innovations will make vehicles safer for poor drivers and those who have physical setbacks.
The value of cloud software
The research Toyota is doing will have ramifications on the entire automobile industry. However, to turn the information gained about robotics and artificial intelligence into great change, a business must have a modern manufacturing software solution. The ability to reduce costs while overseeing production can help a business focus its resources on innovations such as self-driving vehicles.
Atachi NGIMES is the leader for automotive manufacturers. The cloud-supported technology provides instant access to shareable analytics, so that industry leaders can examine development and measure productivity. NGIMES also helps companies such as Toyota integrate regulatory requirements, so that the new robotics technology stays up to date with safety standards.
Given how quickly technology evolves, a company investing so much money cannot afford to be left behind because of an oversight. Atachi NGIMES makes sure an error does not take place for an automotive manufacturing business, ensuring high-quality work while costs remain down.
4 Nov Making self-driving cars safer with the help of NGIMES
One of the newest trends in automotive manufacturing are self-driving vehicles. Three different companies – Audi, Google and Delphi – are producing those types of cars, according to CNN Money. The vehicles are allowed on the road, but different states have varying legal requirements they must follow. For example, in California, a human driver is required to be behind the wheel in case the car has a problem. Wired magazine stated that The National Highway Safety Administration has addressed the technology, but has not passed any rulings outlawing or advocating for self-driving cars.
Recent news about the cars may change how they are manufactured. A new study found that self-driving vehicles travel fewer miles than traditional cars, yet crash nearly nine times as often. Given the high costs of creating and operating self-driving cars, the high rate of crashes is alarming for manufacturers, owners and other drivers on the road.
Until legislation is introduced that changes the way self-driving cars are regulated, the owners and makers of these vehicles will have to adjust to ensure everyone driving in or near one of these cars is safe.
Data on self-driving cars
In October, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released its study on real-world crashes involving self-driving vehicles. While plenty of research had been done to see how these cars held up in labs and on test tracks, the UM study wanted to see how self-driving cars fared on residential streets, busy highways and other actual roads where other vehicles would be moving.
“Automated cars averaged 9.1 crashes per 1 million miles, the study found.”
What the study found was not promising for the technology, though researchers admitted the sample size was fairly small. Self-driving cars from all three brands travel about 1.2 million miles a year, compared to 3 trillion annual miles that are driven in the U.S. by conventional vehicles. Yet despite the limited mileage, the rate of an accident from a self-driving car is still considerably higher than when a human is behind the wheel.
Automated cars averaged 9.1 crashes per 1 million miles, the study found. Cars with human drivers were only in accidents 1.9 times for every 1 million miles on the road.
The Michigan researchers did state that the numbers are not completely indicative of how well the cars perform. The study cited a 95 percent confidence interlap, which means they cannot eliminate the chance that the actual rate for self-driving cars are lower than that of conventional vehicles. In every accident the researchers examined, the automated vehicle was not at fault for the crash.
There is a great possibility that a self-driving car, programmed and designed to follow all of the rules of the road, just lacks the natural instincts of a human. As Manufacturing.net pointed out, self-driving cars do not attempt to maneuver out of the way to avoid crashes, as humans do. Those risky and often high-speed attempts to get out of the way of oncoming cars occasionally lead to worse accidents. Along with not being at fault, the UM study also stated that accidents involving self-driving cars are often generally less severe than crashes involving human drivers.
Value of NGIMES
Production of self-driving cars is still ongoing by the three automakers investing in the technology. However, it is expected changes will be made in an effort to lower the rate of crashes.
NGIMES, an automotive manufacturing execution system, can help companies collect data and make fact-based decisions on how to improve the making of a vehicle. The software focuses on quality processes, so that a business is guaranteed that their manufacturing setup is working efficiently and intelligently. There is also improved capabilities to measure and monitor excellence, so that manufacturers know the vehicles they are making remain top-of-the-line.
Smart software like NGIMES can help reduce the total cost of ownership, and at the same time make self-driving vehicles safer for everybody.
23 Oct Why the VW scandal makes cloud-based MES all the more important
The recent scandal involving Volkswagen and the ensuing resignations of several high-ranking company officials will serve as an eye-opener to the entire automobile manufacturing industry. A high-quality manufacturing execution system is more important than ever, but so is regulating the MES to ensure it is following federal safety and environmental guidelines. Having a modern, cloud-based solution can give auto manufacturers the confidence they are saving money while still producing high-quality work.
With manufacturing costs expected to rise in the wake of the VW scandal, an advanced MES is a top priority. Auto manufacturers that lack a strong understanding of the changes that could take place and the impacts they may have on a business will be left behind. Tests on emissions and safety will be more strict than ever, and having a system in place to oversee all of that is a necessity for those within the industry.
Grasping what VW did that was so wrong, and how it impacts manufacturing moving forward, highlights the need for a cloud-based MES solution.
From the top to the bottom
In the first half of 2015, Volkswagen was the largest automaker in the world. From January to June, the company sold more than 5 million vehicles, according to USA Today. The top spot had long been a goal of CEO Martin Winterkorn, so to achieve it was a landmark moment for the company.
Less than three months after that news was released, Winterkorn resigned. It was revealed in September that the company had used a program to help its diesel cars cheat on vehicle emissions tests. Nearly 11 million cars around the world – many of which were in the U.S. – were equipped with technology designed to fool tests, allowing it to pass U.S. anti-pollution benchmarks despite using more diesel fuel than regulations allow.
Though Winterkorn said he had no knowledge of the illegal technology, he still stepped aside in the wake of the scandal. Several other high-ranking officials also left the company.
“I am shocked by the events of the past few days,” Winterkorn said in a statement. “Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.”
Impact felt by all
The result of the scandal could mean stricter emissions tests for every automobile manufacturer. Regulators will be taking a closer look at all cars to ensure nobody else is attempting to pull similar scams similar to the one that VW attempted. To do this, the way cars are tested is likely to change.
Emmanuel Bulle, an analyst for corporate credit firm Fitch Ratings, told The Los Angeles Times that vehicle testing in the future will be done less in labs and more on the road. That will give the manufacturer less of a chance to influence the car’s emission performance.
“The whole transportation sector could be affected if this emission test crisis fundamentally affects consumers and regulators’ attitude toward cars, driving and pollution,” Buelle said.
The impact of these changes will likely mean higher costs for manufacturers. Rigging the emissions tests brought new issues to light, including how these certifications are done and who is evaluating the cars. Increased spending on the enforcement of the laws and the rising costs for testing could raise the overall amount a vehicle costs to build.
Those changes would impact the entire industry’s profits, unless the price of new cars also goes up, in which case customers would feel the greatest hit.
Cloud solutions are needed
“Automobile manufacturing companies may have to adjust their business practices.”
As the changes begin to take place, automobile manufacturing companies may have to adjust their business practices. New testing and updated laws will impact every step of the process on how vehicles are made, and having a cloud-based MES can help everyone within a business be on the same page. VW is expected to face serious fines – along with potential jail time for executives – and future violators of the law could face even harsher punishments for trying to rig the emissions tests.
MES programs can help a company gather and collect data to evaluate how vehicles are performing and where any changes need to be made. As adjustments are made to regulations, a manufacturing business can ensure their products are staying within the guidelines of what is allowed. And with a focus on quality processes, a cloud-based solution can oversee that every step of manufacturing is taking place correctly.
A primary benefit of cloud-based MES is that the system measures and monitors excellence within a business. When a company knows what it is doing correctly, it is in a better position to make adjustments if laws change. Having an advanced system to monitor manufacturing helps companies maintain their excellence and avoid the problems that VW recently found itself in.