Industry 4.0 (incorporating Cyber-Physical systems, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing and Cognitive Computing) is leading to self-learning smart factories. With widespread and ever fast development of automation and integration of industry, comes the creation of more intelligent monitoring and control technologies. Companies can use these technologies to manage and optimise their entire value-chain network in real-time.
The introduction of intelligent, self-driving vehicles in a traffic infrastructure, based on the Internet of Things has opened new doors for automated and flexible logistic solutions. Tesla Model S P90D, Volvo XC90 T8 Hybrid, Faraday Future FFZERO1 EV, BMW 750i xDrive are few examples of some self driving cars available today. Google’s driverless autonomous cars have logged 5,00,000 miles till date without any accident.
Volvo XC90 T8: https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/09/volvo-xc90-t8-review
The data on capacity, weather, traffic and vehicles is used to optimize transport logistics. With the increase in production and transportation of smaller batches (e-commerce), the production and distribution sides have become virtually dependent on the efficiency and flexibility of the transport logistics. The order fulfillment technologies along with automated software and real-time fulfillment data have helped integrate the front-end and back-end of online retail.
The concept of “cellular transport systems” involves swarms of autonomous vehicles (robots) that are capable of sensing their surroundings independently using laser scanners, infrared sensors, and RFID chips. These robots are able to navigate to their respective destinations autonomously. Hence, they provide a helping hand with the inventory in the warehouse. Australia’s Drake Trailers has reported an increase in productivity by 60% after including a single welding robot into its production line.
With the benefits Industry 4.0 has to offer, more and more industries are incorporating it. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) has developed an initial prototype of – the so-called Smart Factory. It’s main feature is the composition of independent production modules which communicate with each other autonomously, with the help of a number of information systems. Humans merely play a supporting role in the production process. The intelligent product is permanently informed about its current order, material, and production data with the help of integrated sensors (e.g. RFID or Bluetooth), and is thus able to influence its own production. The networked system communicates simultaneously with the individual intelligent products and monitors the individual work steps. In this system, the human operator is directly informed about the product with details of the assembly process and the necessary work steps.
What exactly is a smart factory? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpTXt4VBe94