Volkswagen and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are launching Industrial Cloud, a state-of-the-art online platform where strategic partners to Volkswagen can contribute with their own software applications to optimize production processes. The company expects a rapidly growing range of industrial software applications for Volkswagen plants.
"We want to bring together data from all the Volkswagen Group facilities and make it usable in real time. This will create the basis for even more efficient processes and increased productivity. "The Industrial Cloud will become the App Store for our plants,” said Nihar Patel, Executive Vice President New Business Development of Volkswagen Group on a statement.
By the end of 2020, 18 manufacturing locations will be connected via the cloud, but Industrial Cloud will eventually include all Volkswagen’s factories in the world as well as its global supply chain as the platform facilitates data interchange between systems and plants. Industrial Cloud is based on AWS technologies using machine learning, data analytics, computing services and Internet of Things (IoT), which have been adjusted specifically to meet the requirements of Volkswagen and the automotive industry.
"Volkswagen contributes in-depth knowledge of industrial processes and excellent production. At AWS, we have extensive experience with building technology solutions that create value for both solution providers and users. Our insight is: additional partners always bring in additional data, which in turn enables new solutions. Together we solve challenges that none of us could tackle alone," said Sarah Cooper, General Manager of IoT Solutions at Amazon Web Services.
Some of the potential applications will include, for instance, “an algorithm with artificial intelligence to calculate requirements for driverless transport systems for plant logistics to distribute these systems in the ideal way,” said Volkswagen on a statement. Another example is “an application for generating a digital twin on the cloud to simulate capacity deployment and maintenance intervals of machines without intervening in the physical production process.”
The companies participating in Industrial Cloud will be able to take the experience of one of the largest vehicle manufacturers, which at the same time will allow them to optimize their own processes and products. Volkswagen announced that in the initial phase, ABB, ASCon Systems, BearingPoint, Celonis, Dürr, GROB-WERKE, MHP, NavVis, SYNAOS, Teradata and WAGO are the pioneering companies who will be joining the Industrial Cloud.
In this scheme, sharing data is a “give-and-take” for companies participating in the project, which means ensuring data security and confidentiality remains important. "It is a give-and-take if we expect companies to develop solutions for us. We should also share the necessary information," said Patel. “Data security and confidentiality are always our top priorities. Nevertheless, it can be useful to share information to get more efficient solutions. The key concept is selectivity, with whom does Volkswagen share that data and for what purpose,” said Cooper.
According to Patel, selectivity does not mean the new platform remains a closed club. “We are open to cooperation with our suppliers and any other company that wants to contribute solutions and/or consume them,” he says. On her part, Cooper strongly believes that the more companies contribute to solving the existing challenges in the industry, the more dynamic collaboration will become.
"In the long term, we are striving for an open marketplace for industrial applications. On such a platform, all participants would be able to exchange, purchase and use their applications among themselves – regardless of any ties to Volkswagen. It would be a place that is basically available to all companies – from suppliers and technology partners to other automobile manufacturers," says Patel.