Industry 4.0 as future motor for autonomous driving

Industry 4.0 as future motor for autonomous driving

Germany is considered the inventor of Industry 4.0. According to a Bitkom study, however, the industrialized country is in danger of missing the boat. In order to prevent this and to be able to keep up in areas such as autonomous driving, German car manufacturers such as BMW, Daimler and Co. must advance the digital transformation and realization of smart factories.

In many industries, value creation is changing significantly. However, the pressure in the automotive industry seems particularly high to develop infrastructures, platforms and services quickly and on a large scale. In concrete terms, OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers are facing major challenges:

    • Where does the best operating system for connectivity and shared services in the car come from?

    • Who is developing the platforms for autonomous driving or electric vehicles (AV – Autonomous Vehicle; BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle)?

    • How is IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) technology finding its way into manufacturing?

    • Which new end customer services ensure market leadership?

    • Where does IT positively fuel the upheaval?

New opportunities thanks to OT and IT convergence

Instead of primarily focusing on OT (Operational Technology), more and more it is about IT. The mechanics of the car will be heavily standardized. However, since customers continue to want individuality, software development will have to meet this customer requirement. The software and the data obtained with it will become the new cash cow and the unique selling proposition in the automotive industry.

Through OT and IT convergence, the data from the machines can be brought together with SAP, merchandise management systems and enterprise applications. If previous digital gaps are closed and bidirectional communication between factory and IT is created, a changeable production in the sense of Industry 4.0 is created. And with it the possibility of further developing the options that arise in this way into new services for the end customer. Through constant exchange between sensors and applications, OEMs are able to develop their own Smart Factory solutions. A functioning platform ecosystem is the prerequisite for successful implementation.

Dawn of the platform economy

Automakers need both a cloud strategy and cloud experience. Under these circumstances, like agile start-ups, they can build a platform ecosystem for electric, networked and autonomous vehicles with their top suppliers and other OEMs. This entails massive investments in software, on which ideally global software teams rapidly develop and test code using modern software development techniques, including DevOps and AI.

External activities are currently concentrating on a BEV platform. At the same time, intensive work is being done on the truly autonomous car. The test cars produce huge amounts of real-time data that have to be analyzed using deep learning methods. This daunting task requires a data strategy that supports the compute, transfer, storage, and management requirements of myriad parallel transformation processes. For this purpose, OEMs cooperate with technology, cloud and network providers.

Get the most out of the cloud with a data fabric

Such a specialist can consider and cover the entire mobility data pipeline from ingestion through analysis, transformation, validation, splitting, training, model validation, scaling and implementation. Because it must be ensured that the data can be easily moved between different infrastructures and clouds to the place where the next processing step is to take place.

The data center will continue to be an important part of the IT architecture, but some applications that are relatively non-business-critical and can cope with low bandwidth or high latency will be moved to the cloud. This increases the demands on data management. This is only made possible by a data fabric that connects the endpoints in on-premises and cloud environments and provides them with uniform, comprehensive functions. This results in simplified administration of the data and the connected environment, which means that transformation processes can be implemented more quickly.

generate added value

The German automotive industry must tackle its major challenges at the same time. A holistic view of how IT skims new values ​​from unstructured data is therefore crucial. In addition to advances in autonomous driving, a smart factory opens up other possibilities: A complete digital twin opens up production possibilities and completely new upselling options. In addition, quality, plant availability and production efficiency increase, while maintenance costs fall and plant availability increases. In this way, it will be possible for the German automotive industry, as the inventor of Industry 4.0, to get back to the top.

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