Here's How AI Will Help Nissan Build Even Better Cars

Technology / 2 Comments

The new tech can identify errors too minor for the human eye to notice.

Artificial Intelligence has gained traction rapidly in today's automotive world, with the futuristic technology being implemented in a number of innovative ways. Nissan in particular is very excited about this increasingly popular technology and hopes to implement it throughout its production process before future cars such as the Ariya even hit showrooms.

AI will be utilized by Nissan with the main goal of enhancing its customers' satisfaction. Under the watchful eye of project leader Yoshinori Sato, a team of Nissan engineers has been dedicated to this tech since 2018. Since then, it has devised an inspection scanner that can evaluate the condition of car parts to a 99.995 percent accuracy. This is a system that has already been implemented at the company's Oppama Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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The intelligent part of the software is its ability to take a look at an image and compare it to its stored input data. Once this process is complete, it will devise the necessary action that is needed to ensure the best quality control. Seiji Furuta, who is a member of Sato's team, explains that "with this technology, we're able to achieve nearly 100 percent accuracy in our inspection process, helping to ensure the customer gets exactly what they ordered."

"We see it now as a way to help us perform certain tasks," Sato adds. "But when you take in the added potential posed by combining the technology with robotics, a whole new level of possibility is revealed. Several physically demanding or stressful jobs beyond image recognition could potentially become mechanized and operated via AI."

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As you might imagine, some of the members at Nissan were a bit hesitant with adopting Artificial Intelligence into its already established protocols. With customer safety being Nissan's number one goal, Furuta explains, "many people felt it was unlikely machine learning could be fully relied upon to always produce accurate results. They essentially didn't trust AI, believing that the potential risk it posed to the smooth running of the production line was too great."

So, what exactly did Nissan do to build the confidence of its staffers? To create a platform that would ensure the implementation of AI would be fluid and solid, the team traveled to the UK for an AI certification course. The team then got involved with the Nissan Learning Center so that they could further improve their abilities by conducting a series of practical training courses.

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Is Nissan sure that AI will indeed enhance its quality control on production cars? "Of course, I don't want to suggest that our system is perfect," Sato says. "It's just another reliable assurance that everything in the production process is running smoothly, allowing us to provide the highest quality products to our customers."

Everyone would love perfection to be the final result but Nissan is happy with the fact that AI will jubring a new level of quality control. The systems, which can run independently, also allow the team to work on other time-sensitive tasks where hands-on work is still needed. Since its implementation, the evaluation system has benefited three key areas for the plant.

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The first is the button selection process for dashboards. On a production line, applying buttons to the dashboard and other areas of the car can be a tricky process because the speed of this installation is rather rapid. The AI system steps in by running a scan and verifying the position of each button to ensure accurate placement. If a mistake is made, it will notify the installers.

Side mirror installation can also be a tricky procedure as it requires technicians to identify even the slightest of variations. Sometimes, a side mirror can be dispositioned by a dimension that is too small for the human eye to notice. The AI system, on the other hand, can spot flaws like this and notify the technician before the unit continues down the line.

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The last advantage of the system is arguably the most important one. Considering all the cars that go through the plant have varying dimensions, a standardized measurement system is crucial. Running the entire car through a large scanner allows the AI system to notify technicians if anything is out of place. The result isn't perfect but Nissan clarifies that it is pretty close. Innovations made here can also develop into more advanced systems which we could see implemented in Nissan's future intelligent products.

What does this mean for the future of AI at Nissan? The Japanese company states that with this just being the start, its future in the sphere is going to be fascinating. "The potential for this technology is endless," Sato explained. "We just have to remember that AI requires a great deal of input and information to function. There is still a lot left for us to do to guide its development."

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