How IT can ignite digital transformation in the auto industry


The automotive industry is a good example of a traditional industry that’s undergoing digital transformation.

Automakers must respond to numerous industry trends including the need to deliver higher mobility and more digital services in the car itself as well as demands by consumers for a more connected car and autonomous driving. Carmakers need to adjust their products and services and the way each is produced in order to meet these new industry realities.

Here are three ways automakers can innovate their production lines to bring about digital transformation:

  • Add more customization to the production process. Automakers and their business partners will build products with increased customization, which is forced by digitization, but also by new materials and joining technologies. These companies will develop and test new versatile production, investing in best practices such as Industry 4.0 research and its implementation. The ability to orchestrate their IT infrastructure and solutions and service will help the automotive industry support those challenges and opportunities.
  • Deploy cyber-physical systems to create a production line of the future.  Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are integrations of computation, networking and physical processes. Embedded computers and networks monitor and control the physical processes, creating feedback loops in which physical processes affect computations and vice versa. Major investments are being made worldwide to develop this technology. A CPS builds on the older discipline of embedded systems; computers and software are embedded in devices where the principle mission is not computation, such as autos, toys, medical devices and scientific instruments. CPS strives to integrate the dynamics of the physical processes with those of the software and networking, providing abstractions and modeling, design, and analysis techniques for an integrated system. Think of CPS as the next step in the development of auto production. The same way engineering and operations worked to create the paperless factory, CPS will support the enhanced assembly of auto products, as well as the lifecycle of each individual product and service.
  • Use analytics to optimize manufacturing execution. Analytics tools will be available to analyze production data using local components at the shop floor and central platforms. New solutions on the plant level ensure that data production processes can be used even if real-time requirements have to be met for the time-critical interaction with robots, machines and production lines. Strategic use of this technology lets the production line work more seamlessly with the engineering and marketing departments looking to ship cars to dealers.

Automakers are on the verge of a new paradigm when it comes to producing their cars. By creating flexible plants that increase customization, integrating embedded networks and systems, and utilizing analytics to optimize production, automakers will build cars that reflect the wants and needs of today’s consumers.

Volker Pipke is Advisor Application Services for DXC North & Central Europe.

Thomas Salva is Director for PLM & Embedded Systems Engineering at DXC.


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