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Tesla wants its factory workers to wear futuristic augmented reality glasses on the assembly line

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  • Tesla patent filings reveal plans for augmented reality glasses to assist with manufacturing.
  • Factory employees has previously used Google Glass in its factory as recently as 2016.

Tesla‘s Model 3 might have “biblical simplicity” according to one Wall Street analyst, but building any car still involves hundreds of nuts, bolts, and welds.

To cut down on the number of fit and finish issues — like the “significant inconsistencies” found by UBS— Tesla employees on the assembly line could soon use augmented reality glasses similar to Google Glass to help with car production, according to new patent filings.

Last week, Tesla filed two augmented reality patents that outline a futuristic vision for the relationship between humans and robots when it comes to manufacturing. The “smart glasses” would double as safety glasses, and would help workers identify places for joints, spot welds, and more, the filings say.

Here’s how it works:

Tesla/USPTO

And here’s the specific technical jargon outlining the invention (emphasis ours):

The AR device captures a live view of an object of interest, for example, a view of one or more automotive parts. The AR device determines the location of the device as well as the location and type of the object of interest. For example, the AR device identifies that the object of interest is a right hand front shock tower of a vehicle. The AR device then overlays data corresponding to features of the object of interest, such as mechanical joints, interfaces with other parts, thickness of e-coating, etc. on top of the view of the object of interest. Examples of the joint features include spot welds, self-pierced rivets, laser welds, structural adhesive, and sealers, among others. As the user moves around the object, the view of the object from the perspective of the AR device and the overlaid data of the detected features adjust accordingly.

As Electrek points out, Tesla has previously been employing Google Glass Enterprise as early as 2016, though it’s not clear how long it was in use.

Tesla has a tricky relationship with robotics in its factory. In April, CEO Elon Musk admitted its Fremont, California factory had relied too heavily on automated processes. Those comments, to CBS This Morning, came after criticism from a Bernstein analyst who said “We believe Tesla has been too ambitious with automation on the Model 3 line.”

Still, the company seems to be hoping for a more harmonious relationship between human and machine this time around.

“Applying computer vision and augmented reality tools to the manufacturing process can significantly increase the speed and efficiency related to manufacturing and in particular to the manufacturing of automobile parts and vehicles,” the patent application reads.

 

This article was originally published on Business Insider. Copyright 2018.

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Manufacturing

Manufacturers are recognizing the need to find new efficiencies

Recent data from Oden Technologies shows that 94% of manufacturers have seen significant changes in demand.

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“The challenges facing the manufacturing industry seem to be never-ending.” 

So begins the introduction to The State of Manufacturing: CEO Insights, the new report by Willem Sundblad, co-founder and CEO of intelligent industrial automation company Oden Technologies.

This year, of course, is no exception. “As we enter a period of economic uncertainty, manufacturers are recognizing the need to find new efficiencies and ultimately make more with less,” Sundblad continues.

Featuring both data analysis and insights from industry experts, Sundblad’s report examines current challenges in manufacturing, takes a look at the future, and reflects on the state of digital transformation in the sector.

Challenges facing manufacturing

One of the key findings is that 94% of manufacturers have seen significant changes in demand. Production schedules have no-doubt shifted in the short term, and these companies are “leveraging new technologies to streamline production and maximize capacity.” 

Manufacturers are also feeling the pressure of market uncertainty, as well as making profitability sustainable for the long term.


“Lean startup mentality and incremental growth with a return to fundamentals are crucial in battling through a changing marketplace as well as tsunami-like risks,” said David Rosen, CEO and founder of Kira Labs.  

Looking ahead

When looking to the future — an uncertain one that has been drastically altered by COVID-19 — the report identifies three main areas of focus for manufacturers:

  1. Optimizing production processes
  2. Improving workforce effectiveness
  3. Decentralizing the supply chain

How will they approach these? According to the numbers, 63% of manufacturers say “enabling more remote employees through digital technologies will be an outcome of the pandemic.” Another big focus? Cross-training and streamlining.

“Digital transformation will drive new processes and business models as manufacturers look toward the future,” explained Joe Morgan, founder & CEO of siY. “On the supply chain side, we will likely see a trend toward less globalized supply chains and more focus on local sourcing.”

DX in manufacturing

As we’ve previously reported (here, here, and here), COVID-19 has added major fuel to the digital transformation fire of organizations. And manufacturing is no different. 71% of respondents saying the pandemic has accelerated their DX journeys. 86% report having a designated DX leader — which is great, considering the critical importance of strong leadership to transformational efforts.  

“Embracing these new systems are all indicators that technology continues to be a space that has untapped opportunity for growth,” said Julie Copeland, CEO of Arbill. “I think that manufacturers will also investigate other emerging technology, including finding ways to utilize augmented reality.”

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Manufacturing

What you need to know if you’re attending MWC Los Angeles 2019

MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.

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MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.

The event is an opportunity to discover how leaders like Cognizant are looking into the future of connections, content and commerce.

To help you prepare, here is a selection of articles, case studies, ebooks, and clips from Cognizant, discussing digital transformation:

  • Learn Cognizant’s 4 key success factors to Industry 4.0 transformation. For starters, lead with strategy, not the technology. Watch the video here.
  • AI, Machine Learning, and IoT are ensuring the efficacy and efficiency of one of the most demanding engineering projects in the world. Learn how Cognizant helped Norwegian offshore engineering firm Kvaerner adopt these digital technologies.
  • The promise of Industry 4.0 is compelling, but for many traditional manufacturers, the reality is less than ideal. In this new Cognizant report, find examples of manufacturers that are navigating the shift.
  • It’s all about speed: Insight from Cognizant on how 5G will transform the business sector and create a leadership race for data intelligence.
  • Not all smart factories are created equal: Cognizant takes stock of the state of IoT intelligence, and what industrial organizations need to ensure both digital maturity and success. Read more here.
  • The many touchpoints of IoT connectivity allows AI to really shine, and prove its value to manufacturers in the form of proactive preventive maintenance, says James Jeude, VP in Cognizant’s Digital AI & Analytics Strategic Consulting Group, in this piece.
  • The human factor in IoT intelligence is key: Connected employees can “dynamically manage situations as they change,” explains Cognizant’s AVP of engineering and IOT solutions Phanibhushan Sistu.
  • The leap to IoT is a necessary one for your organization. This Cognizant ebook looks at 14 such businesses that jumped confidently into the digital future.
  • It took less than 12 weeks for Cognizant to implement an IIoT platform for a leading global industrial manufacturer. Get the case study here.
  • Without the duo of IoT and the Digital Twin, your organization is living in a black-and-white outlined world, in terms of operational intelligence. Color it in, get more accurate predictions, and fully realize potential.

One session to highlight? “5G and IoT – Understanding the Relevance to Your Business,” featuring Senior Director, Cognizant Digital Business, Prashanth Bhushan. This session will examine how the impending mass availability of 5G networks is set to mark a major step forward in extending 5G applications to various vertical industries and fields beyond traditional telecom and mobile internet.

MWC Los Angeles 2019 takes place October 22-24, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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IoT + PLM = Product Intelligence: An equation that delivers monetization opportunities

In the equation IoT + X = Intelligence, what role does product lifecycle management play as the X factor?

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Consumers are fickle. 

Today’s hot must-have can easily fade into obscurity tomorrow. Most products don’t even make it out to the playing field, and instead languish on the sidelines. The B2B world is not much different. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) however, manufacturers are gaining a better peek at the product lifecycle beyond their distribution warehouse and leveraging that intelligence to their advantage.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

PLM matters

More often than not, manufacturers make educated guesses at what consumers want. Sure they rely on surveys and calibrated focus groups but too often they’re still skating on thin ice with data snapshots. Product manufacturers rely on past sales records, future trend forecasts and hope design comes up with a nifty new gadget. They then execute strategic marketing and finally keep fingers crossed for best outcomes. 

The problem with such an iterative pattern is that the process is more or less opaque once the product leaves the manufacturer. Today’s product lifecycle management delivers much-needed transparency to the trail a product follows not just from concept and design and sales but on to how the consumer actually uses and disposes of it. 

And it does so through IoT. An IoT-embedded device relays product information to the mothership long after it has left the point of sale so manufacturers can gain insight into usage patterns and other data. While PLM has always followed the trail of breadcrumbs that products leave, IoT now allows for a longer and more useful trail. 

[Download]: A New Approach to PLM

IoT + PLM

“With IoT live product feedback has become possible. The [data] gap that existed between when we have sold a product and when someone discards that product…that gap has now been connected by IoT,” says Jagmeet Singh, Director, Connected Products, at Cognizant. 

Businesses use cloud technologies to analyze the data that IoT-embedded products spit out and reap a whole host of benefits. Manufacturers access instant feedback about feature design – in an age of user-centered design, this is a big deal – and price points. Product design now needs fewer reboots and manufacturers can produce with more confidence.

The introduction of IoT and associated data analytics expanded the use of Product Data as a Service (PDaaS), where larger sets of metadata about products are now available to be harvested, right from raw materials used, to manufacturing processes to quality control and beyond.

Simply by following the IoT trail (and obtaining all-important user permission), manufacturers can monetize information about product usage to secondary vendors who might benefit from related information. A computer manufacturer, for example, can sell valuable information about the heat exchanger, the battery, the Bluetooth connection to satellite providers who can use this as intelligence for their own sales and marketing promotions.

IoT breathes new life into PLM extending the line beyond the four walls of the warehouse to the real world where live data from every user shapes future product iterations.

IoT + PLM = Customer intelligence. With sharper data based on usage patterns, manufacturers can anticipate customer needs better and deliver they want. The result is more revenue and less waste. IoT lets PLM realize its full potential.

[Download]: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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