How great is the potential for AI in automobile production?
Eck: Production is an area where an especially great number of people and machines work on the product together. The interactions between the various steps throughout the process chain are very complex. The process also yields an extremely large amount of high-quality and structured data, which makes production a perfect field of application for AI. AI can simplify and automate processes for all involved, while ensuring product quality and increasing profitability. Today, we assume that digitalization can reduce factory costs by up to 30 percent overall. AI will be a determining part of that.
Keckle: AI also provides greater transparency around decision-making processes while also controlling them with even greater targeting. We want to improve production day by day, and AI is a perfect tool for that.
Where does Audi already use AI in production today?
Keckle: Audi currently has two specific use cases for artificial intelligence in production. The first is in body construction at the Neckarsulm site, where AI monitors the quality of spot welds. It uses data from the welding machine to conclude whether individual spot welds are in order or not. As a result, Audi employees no longer have to check every single spot weld themselves, focusing instead only on conspicuous ones.
Eck: The other use case is at the Ingolstadt press shop. The AI there checks images of pressed parts to detect cracks. Today, it serves a supportive function by showing the operator a preselection of problematic pieces; In the future, AI will make decisions autonomously. This use case has two advantages. First, the step is automated. And second, the operator benefits from support from AI.