BMW Brings AI into Its Munich Paint Shop

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.

 

BMW iX3: More than Meets the Eye When Going Green

BMW now has plans to continue to electrify its line up with an EV version of the X3 compact SUV with the new iX3 (not to be confused as a sibling of their i3 EV). And while it may feel like BMW is a bit late in joining the party when it comes to EV SUVs they have announced plenty about their plans for the iX3 to get drivers excited.

Range is the name of the game when it comes to EVs and BMW is promising over 440 km from the 74-killowatt-hour battery pack. Where the range will end up when the iX3 is on the road driven by consumers it is hard to know as some vehicle’s ranges have ended up less than what one would expect based on EPA testing.

The iX3 will combine the electric motor, electronics and transmission into a single unit. This saves on space and weight—the latter always being of concern when it comes to EVs. So far BMW has only mentioned rear-wheel drive and initial ratings have the iX3 at around 286 HP and 295 pounds-feet of torque.

As far as “going green” BMW is attempting to go beyond reducing fossil fuel usage. The car maker claims they are trying to be eco-friendly in all areas of production such as where and how raw materials are gathered, daily usage and recycling potential. BMW is also trying to address the environmental issue of used batteries by planning a second life for the iX3 battery packs after their use in the vehicle.

The New BMW and Daimler Mega-Group of “Now” Vehicle Services

BMW and Daimler have joined forces to create a multimodal travel company mega-group. The new venture will invest a combined 1 billon GBP to create electric charging stations, ride hailing, ticket free parking and car sharing. The new mega-group will take the lead overtop of BMW’s short-term rental services Car2Go and DriveNow.

ChargeNow will become the biggest world-wide provider of electric charging stations with 100K access points in twenty-five countries. ParkNow includes a 30 million driver costumer base in eleven hundred cities on two continents. FreeNow has a fleet of a quarter million drivers and twenty-one million customers in Europe and South America.

The mega-group of five companies claims a massive total 60 million customers. The “Now” mega-group will stack its headquarters in Berlin among other German tech start-ups and will create, worldwide, another 1,000 jobs.

BMW to Invest in New Plant

BMW will spend 1 Billion USD to create a new plant in Debrecen, Hungary, where it will manufacture electric autos. The new manufacturing plant will have a limit of 150,000 autos every year, and will have the capacity to create both electric and fuel burning vehicles.

That in spite of the fact that the organization’s authorities have gone by our nation a few times and Bucharest authorities have talked about at the central station of the Bavarian manufacturer in Munich about the possibility of a plant in Romania.

BMW claims that the new speculation will help extend Europe’s building limit, offering around 45 percent of the gathering’s autos, with 1.1 million units sold.

Before the finish of June, the BMW Group has developed in numerous business sectors over the region, with auto conveyances totaling in excess of 560,000 units, a 1.2 percent expansion over a similar period a year ago.

The Hungarian city of Debrecen was picked for the plant, suitable strategic connections and vicinity to the system of providers. Notwithstanding the plant group, numerous occupations will be made for parts and specialist co-ops, both inside the new generation office and in the area.

A year ago, 2.5 million0 of BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce autos were created, a notable high.

BMW Releases Info on New Performance SUV Generation

The newest generation of X5 and X5 M BMW models are on their way—they are currently being tested in Scandinavia on public roadways. At the BMW Annual General Meeting the brand boss, Harald Kruger, revealed they are looking at an October release.

The new X5 M is a sup’d up version of the M SUV twin turbocharged 4.4 liter V, which will probably give it 592bhp. This would place the X5 M at the top end of performance-focused SUVs—out doing the current X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S by 25 and 30 bhp respectively.

The new X5 M will also feature a featherweight structure. It is based on the CLAR platform that the 7 series uses. This is a combination of aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber. This weight loss might result in the 0-62mph time of the line being reduce to below 4 seconds.

BMW has also decided to keep producing the plug-in hybrid variant. This will more than likely be a blend of a two liter gas engine with electric power. Similar to what is currently inside the xDrive40e. The all-electric range of the vehicle will be around 25 miles.

BMW to Build Electric Minis for China Market

BMW says it’s in considering electric models of its Mini cars for the China market. This would be the first time the vehicles have been made outside Europe. BMW it has signed a letter of intent with a Chinese manufacturer named Great Wall Motor.

China is the world’s largest market auto market; BMW was able  to account for 560,000 vehicles in that market last year. About 35,000 were Minis. BMW already works with the manufacturer named Brilliance from China.

The company says its main Mini plant in Oxford, England, will start producing the first battery electric models next year.

BMW said making Minis in China wouldn’t call into question its commitment to manufacturing in Britain. They noted they had made “significant investments”, insinuating that they wouldn’t abandon the UK market.

BMW to Build New Proving Ground

Representatives of the BMW Group, the Czech government and the Karlovary Vary region announced construction of a new proving ground today in Prague. The roughly 500-hectare property will be developed in Sokolov in the Karlovary Vary region, close to the German border town of Waldsassen and about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the BMW Group’s main development site, the Research and Development Centre (FIZ), in Munich.

BMW will invest over 100 million euros ($118 million) on a test track for self-driving and electric cars in the Czech Republic, as it expands its foray into alternative driving technologies.

The new BMW proving ground, which will create several hundred jobs, is slated to go into operation early in the next decade. Total investment will be in the three-digit million-euro range.

Dr. Herbert Grebenc, BMW AG, Human Resources, Senior Vice President Real Estate Management, Corporate Security, stated at the announcement in Prague: “The BMW Group is at the vanguard of technology. As an innovation driver, we aim to offer customers the best, most emotional mobility experience and create digital connections between people, vehicles and services. At the planned proving facility in Sokolov, we will continue to advance ground-breaking topics, such as electrification, digitalization and automated driving – for example, through safety-testing for assistance systems.”

Projects at the 500-hectare (1,200-acre) Sokolov site near the German border, picked out of 82 potential locations, will include the testing of driver-assistance and braking systems, Grebenc said.

http://europe.autonews.com/

Do BMW and Mercedes Have Too Many Models?

Mike Duff, writing for Car and Driver Blog, reports that both BMW and Mercedes will bill culling their herd in the coming years and that those models to go will be mostly traditional coupes.

Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, stated “The specialty cars, these coupes and convertibles, were always niche cars,” to journalists at the Geneva auto show. “The expansion into China and other emerging markets [has given] huge opportunities for sedans, but they did not take up these specialty cars. Which makes the business case for these vehicles less easy.”

Zetsche made it clear Mercedes planned to continue offering at least a few coupes. Duff writes, “With both coupe and cabriolet versions of the C-class, E-class, and S-class currently being offered alongside the SLK and SL roadsters and the AMG GT coupe and convertible, there’s obvious potential to simplify the range.”

BMW’s Ian Robertson reported that the company had been struggling with their open sports cars, “The segment that is not really progressing is the roadster segment,” he said. “It never really recovered after 2008, and it never picked up in Asia. Therefore we’re working with Toyota on a platform to try to gain some economies of scale.”

What do you think? Is spoiling their customers with choice weakening sales? Or are luxury coupes no longer the in-thing?

BMW Concepts

The Victor crew likes concept cars. They are a teaser of what could be with a lot of futuristic ideas integrated in them.

There is a very interesting concept that BMW has for the future. It’s all in the wheels. These are their visions for the next 100 years. Their idea is that analog meets digital in the concept car. The area around the wheels make the wheels seem to “disappear” into the car. It would be great to see this car in person. As the wheels turn, the body seems to extend in a diamond pattern with another color showing through.

The Vision vehicle has 2 modes: ease and boost. You can use ease when you want to concentrate on other things and boost when you want to devote your full attention to driving. The steering wheel doesn’t look like your typical wheel either. It kind of looks like it has the feel of a cockpit.

2016 BMW M4 GTS

There are only 300 of these stunningly hot cars headed to the USA. The first water injection system on a production car and the M dual-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is an innovative 7-gear dual-clutch transmission are only a couple of the technological innovations BMW is introducing on this machine. There is even a heads up color display so you can keep your eyes ahead which is a pretty good idea particularly if you decide to apply the full 493 bHP to the asphalt! This is a seriously fast road car coming in at a reported (by BMW) top speed of 250 k/hr which translates in my book to slightly over 156 mph and the 0-100 k/hr is 4.1s which is under 4.1 for 0-60 translated into Detroit lingo. See it and read about it here at the webpage BMW dedicated to it. And after talking to Joe Victor the other day there is a rumor floating around that one of the 300 may be on the way to Stark County,

Jody