Automaker Audi is partnering with various research institutions and technology companies to implement a digital factory transformation and innovation pilot project in Germany.
Technology companies Amazon Web Services, SAP, Capgemini and the XL2 joint venture will provide Audi with IT solutions and ideas under the “Automotive Initiative 2025” initiative.
As part of this same initiative, Audi has also partnered with the Technical University of Munich and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO in the area of digitalisation at the Bildungscampus of Dieter Schwarz Foundation in Heilbronn.
The “Automotive Initiative 2025” aims to establish a world-leading competence network for digital factory transformation and innovation. Audi will use its manufacturing site in Neckarsulm in the pilot as a real-time/world laboratory and testbed for digital transformation.
The main aim is to develop digital solutions for the factory of the future and implement them in vehicle production and logistics for series production within the next five years. Enhanced digital solutions will be leveraged to make the production process more efficient and flexible.
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Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities will be tested with successful solutions expected to be adopted to help Audi develop smart and connected factories globally.
The initiative is also expected to become an idea foundry and driver for the digital transformation of production and logistics throughout the Volkswagen Group. Other goals include the definition of generally applicable standards for the transformation and the rollout of concrete use cases to all Group plants worldwide via the industrial cloud.
Audi sites become part of Volkswagen industrial cloud
The basis for this collaboration is the Digital Production Platform (DPP), in which the data of every machine, piece of equipment and system from every plant in the Volkswagen Group are pooled. The sites thus become part of the industrial cloud, which in the future will also include the Group’s supply chain as well as additional partners.
With Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt, the first two Audi sites have already been connected to the DPP; the remaining sites will follow later this year. In their collaboration, the companies will be leveraging AWS technologies in the areas of the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and computing services that will be developed specifically for the production environment and adapted to the requirements of the automotive industry.
Furthermore, the use of the SAP S/4HANA platform will lay the foundation for the next generation of digital production processes, on which the companies will work together on solutions for modular production and interoperable vehicle logistics.
As part of this interdisciplinary collaboration between research, industry and IT, the companies will use industry-specific applications of the SAP Industry Cloud in the areas of machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) and business process intelligence, which are holistically aligned with future needs for the automation and digitalisation of the automotive industry.
Peter Kössler, board member for production and logistics at Audi, said: “We already have extensive experience in the areas of vehicle production, logistics and production IT at our Neckarsulm site. We will further enhance these capabilities in a targeted manner as part of the transformation. With our dedicated team of experts and our partners in the Automotive Initiative 2025 we develop the site into a leading factory for digital production and logistics within the Group,”
Professor Helmut Krcmar from TU Munich, adds: “With the Automotive Initiative 2025, we have created a pioneering, interdisciplinary network between academia, research, IT companies and automobile manufacturing. The initiative uses sound science to drive the digital transformation of automobile production within the overall context of technology, organization and particularly continuing education.”