The Mladá Boleslav site is home to a state-of-the-art laboratory. Here, top experts are trialling a range of artificial intelligence applications – from car-park management to predictive maintenance of the production line.
ŠKODA AUTO is increasingly focused on the future: digitalisation is growing across all areas of the business alongside the increased use of artificial intelligence in various fields. Supporting this transition is the ŠKODA FabLab, a laboratory where experts from the car manufacturer’s Central Technical Service department work on developing and implementing innovative technologies.
A state-of-the-art laboratory
In other words, the ŠKODA FabLab is at the cutting edge of ŠKODA technology for all things related to artificial intelligence. Employees in this laboratory work on the most daring ideas and highly ambitious projects, helping to make the company more flexible in its digitalisation processes.
Work in the ŠKODA FabLab is divided into different topic clusters, such as a project focused on the predictive maintenance of machinery and equipment: the team tests the relevant components, supports their integration into production processes and addresses questions regarding diagnostics.
Smart car parks
Image analysis opens up possibilities that until recently would have been unthinkable. In the Mladá Boleslav plant there is a pilot project in progress, focusing on car parks. Cameras monitor car parking spaces and identify where individual spaces are available. For this purpose, the system compares real-time images with previously stored images and is ‘conditioned’ to recognise certain patterns.
In this way, deviations between the latest situation and the ‘trained’ ideal one can be detected and automatically evaluated. The system can then be used to assist drivers directly with the most efficient use of the available space.
Managing 2,200 trucks
Upon successful completion of the current testing phase, the AI application is set to assist with coordinating the trucks arriving at gate 13 of the Mladá Boleslav site. Each day sees the arrival of approximately 2,200 trucks that then have to wait in a car park until they are given permission to enter the factory premises. ŠKODA AUTO relies on the deliveries being made just-in-time, in line with its production model. The AI technology will make managing these processes more efficient and sustainable, increasing safety and reducing costs.
Meanwhile, in production, artificial intelligence-based image analysis makes it possible to detect anomalies in production cycles even before they become an issue. “This will provide us with more flexibility in terms of scheduling required maintenance work and will prevent costly disruptions to production processes, which always have a cost impact,” explains Miroslav Kroupa, Head of Brand Management at ŠKODA AUTO. He also emphasises the importance of pilot projects as a way of optimising the technology prior to integrating it into everyday operations.
Technologies based on artificial intelligence can perform cognitive functions in the same way as humans. Such programs can interact with their environment, perceive and weigh up facts, solve problems, and even carry out creative tasks.
As one of the cornerstones of the company’s Strategy 2025, artificial intelligence plays a key role for the company in further advancing digitalisation. And that applies not only to products and processes, but also to services, where AI technologies help to make customer experiences more personal.