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How the Auto Manufacturing Sector Benefits From the Cloud


The widespread combination of modern technologies has introduced a truly exceptional list of new opportunities, many of them having to do with product customization and providing more relevant experiences to customers. Big data, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning - and cloud computing platforms holding them all together - are redefining nearly every industry in existence.

Automotive manufacturing sees a transformation as well, just like many other fields. The aforementioned technologies have become synonymous with the Industry 4.0 movement, alongside smart IoT devices for more nuanced control. It has effectively changed the way manufacturers approach design and development.

It's not just the technology itself influencing major operations changes, some market trends that have come about as a result also change the landscape. The platform economy, for instance, provides long-term and web-based services to customers - think Uber, Airbnb and the like. Manufacturers have also begun to take advantage of this opportunity, by delivering their own form of product-as-a-service and personalization models.

A vast majority of these systems and applications are powered by cloud technology. It begs the question, how exactly does auto manufacturing benefit from the cloud? What kinds of solutions are introduced and how is the technology applied?

Introducing Cloud Innovation

HFS Research explains the current state of cloud computing well. These technologies incorporated as part of Industry 4.0 are "holistically transforming" operations and services provided by manufacturers. It has allowed "factory processes [to become] increasingly mature through various stages such as visibility, transparency, predictability and adaptability."

In other words, cloud technologies tend to be extremely flexible in nature and can be applied in a variety of ways, all of which are used to modernize and improve manufacturing operations.

When coupled with technologies like IoT, machine learning and advanced analytics, the cloud gives voice to the average consumer, allowing businesses to serve their audience better. In auto manufacturing, this is especially important as vehicles become more sophisticated and more capable. It helps ensure these companies focus on the right improvements and advancements, over something that customers don't necessarily want or care for.

These kinds of robust data streams - including behavioral data from customers - help to inform future products, or more specifically the vehicles of the future.

Developmentally, the cloud also synchronizes all data systems which effectively eliminates information and departmental silos. As a result, bugs, delays and similar errors are fixed earlier in the development cycle and have a smaller impact on the overall project.

For example, select data monitoring systems are applied to air compressors and similar manufacturing machines as a means to boost their operation to the "next level of efficiency." None of that would be possible without cloud computing solutions serving as the backbone to this whole process.

Pointed AI and Driverless Technologies

Of course, you can't discuss the cloud, auto innovation and AI without also considering driverless and autonomous vehicle technologies. There's no question about whether or not driverless solutions will play a huge role in the future of the auto industry. AI specifically drives RPA or robotic process automation, which will power driverless vehicle systems. But these solutions stretch beyond the vehicle controls themselves.

In manufacturing, similar AI platforms will detect points of contention in production lines, allowing for minor and accurate adjustments. What this translates to is a more productive, cost-efficient and high-performing system capable of outputting more precise components and goods. AI will help dig into the root cause of defects and hardware failures, in addition to suggesting potential solutions cutting down on the rate of failures and catastrophic events.

Quality assurance then becomes a more integral part of the core process, backed almost entirely by AI, machine learning and cloud systems. Better yet, this manufacturing cloud, if you will, continues to amass more information as time goes on, further improving its effectiveness. It's in a constant state of improvement and optimization, which bodes well for the vehicles that will be assembled at its hand, or at least as a result.

Emergent Industry Adjustments

While the solutions presented above are a huge focus of cloud computing and AI applications, there are additional adjustments being made:

  • As cloud solutions become more viable, migration to these platforms will become more rampant.
  • More meaningful data can be collected, ingested and processed which means incredibly accurate insights, many even predictive in nature.
  • The emergence of IoP or the Internet of People, as people are connected to data and vice versa.
  • Process automation with fewer manual laborers will become increasingly common and more efficient.
  • Smart or connected manufacturing solutions will become the go-to, with remote access prevalent across the industry.
  • Supply chain optimization for more efficient use of resources and better demand forecasting.
  • More personalized products with the help of real-time consumer data, AI, 3D printing and similar "closer to the customer" technologies.

Cloud Computing Is the Glue

It's difficult to quantify the true measure of impact cloud computing solutions and technologies will have on this widespread industry transformation.

That said, one thing remains certain. AI, IoT, machine learning, advanced analytics, robotic process automation, driverless technologies - none of these things would be possible if the cloud did not exist. More importantly, their regular operation and continued improvement directly rely on the performance and success of their remote services.

Cloud computing is the glue holding all these disparate platforms and technologies together, which means it is imperative to the future of the auto manufacturing industry.


About the Author

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits Follow her on Twitter @productibytes to read all of her latest posts!
Published Friday, May 10, 2019 7:25 AM by David Marshall
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