How BMW makes use of AI to make automobile meeting extra environment friendly

Artificial intelligence is having a major impact on the automotive industry.

According to Future Market Insights, autonomous vehicle sales are projected to exceed $70 billion by 2033. But self-driving cars with AI are not the only change – AI technology is already being integrated into vehicle production.

As part of this industry-wide trend, the BMW Group is now embracing greater use of AI to create a leaner and more efficient manufacturing process.

At the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.


In recent years, BMW has added new AI capabilities to its Spartanburg, South Carolina facility. The factory covers an area of ​​more than 8 million square feet and produces about 60% of all BMWs sold in the US. This corresponds to a production of more than 1,500 vehicles per day.

In the body shop, robots weld between 300 and 400 metal bolts to the frame of each SUV. That’s about half a million studs a day applied by machines and now managed by AI.

The assembly line at the BMW plant in Spartanburg.


According to BMW Group Manager Curtis Tingle, the AI ​​technology later checks whether each bolt is precisely placed. If a bolt is misplaced, the system directs the robots to correct it. No human intervention is required.

“It’s a completely closed loop,” Tingle told CNBC. “[AI] takes human thinking, human manual intervention right out of the equation.”

Tingle said the new technology has dramatically improved efficiency. “With what the AI ​​is doing now, we’re doing five times what we previously thought possible.”

A BMW employee at the AI ​​Stud Correction Station.


According to Tingle, the AI ​​stud correction laser has already saved the company more than $1 million per year. The new technology, he said, has enabled BMW to fire six workers off the line and transfer them to other jobs at the plant.

BMW told CNBC that the AI ​​technology was patent-pending and was developed at the Spartanburg plant.

On the factory floor, Camille Roberts, BMW Group IT Project Manager, explains how new AI software is helping to speed up the automaker’s existing inspection process.

As SUVs drive along the track, 26 different cameras take photos all over the ground. Then, according to Roberts, “the AI ​​steps in, identifies problems and reports them so a human can fix them,” preventing a faulty vehicle from being delivered.

BMW’s AIQX camera inspects vehicles.


Roberts told CNBC that before the new AI upgrade, human workers couldn’t inspect every vehicle to the extent that they can now, adding, “It’s not really humanly possible to inspect every single car. … The production numbers just wouldn’t do justice to global demand.”

Oliver Bilstein, BMW Group vice president of logistics and production control, said there is still room for improvement for BMW’s AI technology.

Workers at the plant wear so-called factory scanner devices, which take measurements and high-resolution images from Bilstein of every inch of the factory.

These images will be used to create a 3D “digital twin” of the plant, allowing BMW to make adjustments immediately and understand how this will affect production before any change is implemented in the real world, Bilstein said. BMW factory planners around the world can access these detailed plans online.

With the help of new AI software, the scanning process now takes days instead of months, Bilstein said.

Ultimately, this type of AI technology will be able to learn on its own to discover and recommend new ways to make BMW Group’s automated assembly line even more efficient, he said.

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