BMW is piloting new usage of AI in its plants—this time they are giving it a shot in their Munich plant paint shop.
Even though BMW employees top-notch air filter tech, fine dust particles in paint lines will vary according to the ambient air drawn into the lines. If the dust content goes over a certain amount, the wet paint could trap particles making for uneven paint jobs.
Using AI, BMW engineers and AI specialists have found a way to avoid the problem entirely. Now, every newly painted car body goes through an automatic surface analysis in the paint shop. The data gathered during these inspections are helping BMW develop a massive database of dust particle analysis. Now the AI uses the database for comparison to live particle sensor data coming from the paint booths and dryers.
One example how the AI works is when dust levels are rising due to the season or a long dry period the AI can detect this trend and recommend and earlier filter replacement to help mitigate particle levels.
The AI might also use its analytical abilities to suggest that a factory use a different material to remove dust from car bodies before painting.
BMW AI monitors and analyzes 160 features of car bodies and is able to predict paint job quality with great accuracy. AI experts at BMW are confident once they’ve completed the project in Munich the technology will be able to applied widely to all their plants.
When it comes to AI, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has strongly urged caution recently. But, on Thursday, Musk also confirmed that Tesla is developing its own artificial intelligence software and hardware as the company continues its push toward a future of autonomous driving. What’s more, Musk is confident that his own company’s work on AI will be fruitful, as the CEO boasted about the products’ potential at a machine learning conference in California yesterday.
Talking about the work of Jim Keller, Tesla’s vice president of hardware, Musk said at the conference: “Jim is developing specialized AI hardware that we think will be the best in the world,” according to CNBC. Tesla currently uses chips supplied by Nvidia to power its Autopilot hardware, but Musk’s announcement signals a move away from the partnership.
Musk also reportedly predicted that it will only be two years until fully autonomous driving is available with the new Tesla-developed AI systems, and that the technology will be “an order of magnitude better than humans” within three years, according to Salesforce scientist Stephen Merity, who was at the conference on Thursday and tweeted parts of Musk’s conversation.
Musk was also busy this week stoking competitive fires with regard to his plans to transport humans to Mars with SpaceX rockets. On Thursday, Musk responded to a boast from Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who predicted that the first person to set foot on Mars would arrive in a Boeing rocket. Musk, who has been vocal about his desire to reach Mars and even colonize the Red Planet, responded to Muilenburg in a tweet that said, simply, “Do it.”