Winter 2020

Editor's note

AI accessible to all

Writing this at the end of what has been a very difficult year, it’s been a welcome boost to be focussing on the fascinating developments in automation. Although, given the great leaps forward being made in the development and application of artificial intelligence across manufacturing operations, automation seems a slightly antiquated term. This issue reveals a lot about how automating production is now being approached. We have two interviews with BMW executives, Milan Nedeljković, member of the board of management at BMW AG for production and Matthias Schindler, cluster supervisor for smart data analytics in the production system at BMW. They offer insights into how the OEM is balancing production between ICE and EV platforms and how initiatives from shop floor workers are driving the implementation of AI into its production processes.


AI is clearly being seen a great enabler for automating more complex production tasks, particularly in assembly operations. We offer some insights from Fraunhofer IPA on the latest developments in machine learning to simplify robot programming, specifically for assembly tasks. And it’s not just robots benefiting from AI applications. Manual assembly workstations and worker processes can be enhanced and efficiency increased with optimised data from AI based systems as explained in our interview with Silicon Valley based company, Drishti.


So, it's not just about the machines; there is a strong thread here of working to democratise the application of automated systems, of AI becoming an accessible tool that can used by both people and machines as part of the production process.


Looking forward to a hopefully much better 2021, alongside our focussed digital editions and podcasts, we will also be producing series of livestreams and other digital events, to bring you insights from those working in and supporting the automotive manufacturing industry. To stay up to date, you can register for free to read, watch and listen to all the content on our website, sign-up for our weekly newsletter and follow AMS on LinkedIn and Twitter.


You can catch-up on our latest livestream on automation, featuring BMW, Ford, Symbio Robotics and Cosmo Tech, here


We welcome any comments, feedback or insight from our audience. So please feel free to get in touch.


Stay safe.


Nick Holt
Editor

Editor Nick Holt nick.holt@ultimamedia.com

Deputy editor Gareth Price gareth.price@ultimamedia.com

Editor-in-chief Christopher Ludwig christopher.ludwig@ultimamedia.com

Contributors Mark Dickin, Chuck Hagyard

Publisher and sales Andrew Fallon andrew.fallon@ultimamedia.com

Design director Matt Crane matt.crane@ultimamedia.com 

Senior designer Steven Singh Bains steven.bains@ultimamedia.com

Digital designer Hannah Lindsay hannah.lindsay@ultimamedia.com

Head of audience and marketing Chris Mott chris.mott@ultimamedia.com

Circulation and database Justyna Wanczyk justyna.wanczyk@ ultimamedia.com

Office manager and sales support Jo Fordrey jo.fordrey@ultimamedia.com

Head of finance Kanokkan Durrant kanokkan.durrant@ultimamedia.com

Managing director Gavin Miller gavin.miller@ultimamedia.com 

Editor Nick Holt nick.holt@ultimamedia.com

Contributors Mark Smyth, Illya Verpraet, Mike Farish, Jonathan Scoltock

Editor-in-chief Christopher Ludwig christopher.ludwig@ultimamedia.com

Publisher and sales Andrew Fallon andrew.fallon@ultimamedia.com

Senior designer Steven Singh Bains steven.bains@ultimamedia.com

Digital designer Hannah Lindsay hannah.lindsay@ultimamedia.com

Circulation and database Justyna Wanczyk justyna.wanczyk@ ultimamedia.com

Head of finance Kanokkan Durrant kanokkan.durrant@ultimamedia.com

Managing director Gavin Miller gavin.miller@ultimamedia.com 

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Cover video courtesy of ABB Robotics