Autonomous technology is all around us but in the automotive community, it’s most often discussed with regard to driving assistants. A new partnership between Toyota and Symbio Robotics makes it clear that not all autonomous tech needs to be controversial or questionable. Artificially intelligent robots are going to have a bigger part in building some of the most popular Toyota makes from now on.
Granted, using robots in industrial manufacturing is nothing new. What has changed over the decades is how capable these machines have become. Now, a new shift is taking place as Symbio Robotics demonstrates with its SymbioDCS software that helps AI-controlled robots actively learn as they work.
Many industrial robots of the past could only work within a given set of parameters so adapting to new products or correcting discrepancies could be hard. Now, Toyota is leveraging SymbioDCS to speed up its production lines while improving both quality and efficiency.
“Symbio’s AI-based software gives Toyota’s team real-time control of our industrial robots and provides even more flexibility to help meet changing customer and market demand,” said Pascal Renouil, General Manager of Advanced Technology at Toyota North America. Ultimately though, part of the benefit of SymbioDCS is that it makes small improvements and adjustments on its own as it works.
Each time it completes a task it takes information from that job and applies it to the next. It’s so good at what it does that Ford reported a 15% increase in cycle time (the time it takes from the start to finish of one completely assembled transmission in this case) last year when it began using the technology. They also said that the time it took their SymboDCS-powered robots to adapt to new products was cut in half over previous manufacturing methods.
Those are big improvements in two major areas of production that can cut costs in the long run. They also provide more safety for workers by reducing ergonomic hazards on the assembly line. Toyota says that they plan to use Symbio Robotics products on both traditional and hybrid production lines including the Tundra, Rav4, and Camry.