How AI is Shifting Gears with Intelligent Automation | Appen Blog

Blog Home AI & Machine Learning   •   May 25, 2018

How AI is Shifting Gears with Intelligent Automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly being adopted by industries around the world as organizations seek to uncover new efficiencies and capabilities. Adopters of AI are improving business processes and boosting their profitability while creating better experience for their customers and their employees through intelligent automation.

AI systems are not just changing how we interact with our devices and digital virtual assistants; they’re also impacting production efficiencies in the manufacturing sector – and the automotive industry is no exception.

“Robots” and their automation precursors have been a part of automotive manufacturing for some time – their origins can be dated back to the Ford Motor Company’s first moving assembly line in 1913.  Ever since, technology advances which fine-tune factory production processes have remained a key element of the industry. Today, AI and intelligent automation is the next logical step in advancing how automotive manufacturers design and prototype products, then produce and deliver them.

From driverless cars to fueling efficient factories

Many consumers are aware of advances the industry has made in bringing self-driving cars to public roads. But driverless cars aren’t  only the most visible AI element in play.

Robotics and AI technologies such as machine learning (which allows computers to learn without explicit programming) are changing how cars are being manufactured. Moreover, as McKinsey describes, AI is transforming everything in the sector from research and design, through to project management, and business support functions. By understanding and organizing unstructured data sources such as photos, images, and speech, machines in the production side of the auto industry are beginning to learn from the past to improve future performance.

There is an industry emphasis on a people partnership with AI. It’s not about replacing, but instead augmenting, human capabilities – creating a more productive environment of human-machine interaction, using more context-aware AI-enhanced robots that work alongside teams of people.

One aspect of this is workplace safety in the auto industry. Robots that are revolutionizing assembly lines with greater speed, consistency, and efficiency are making jobs that were once more dangerous, safer for human workers. Machinery intelligent enough to replace human counterparts is decreasing common workplace injuries. As an example, forklifts can now be automated to prevent loading accidents.

Predictive maintenance and supply chain improvements

Beyond automation and increasing safety in production environments, machine learning is being used to help with predictive maintenance in the auto industry. It works by gathering and interpreting unstructured data related to the manufacturing process, then organizing it correctly to uncover new insights and patterns. The data is translated into insights which are able to predict machine failures or maintenance issues before they happen, streamlining the entire manufacturing process. McKinsey e