Audi cars are safe, smart and
technologically advanced. Now their plants too are getting savvy. After the
news of a human-robot cooperation at an Audi plant and very recently testing of
chairless chairs at an Audi plant, comes the news of robots transporting Audi
vehicles at a plant.
In a pilot phase at the Audi
plant in Ingolstadt in Germany that started in February 2015, two robots
independently transported cars from production to an interim storage area. From
there, these driverless transport systems with the name “Ray” later placed the
sorted Audi models into position according to their shipping destinations, so
that logistics employees can load them onto railway wagons. Now that is a smart
way of bringing about efficiency in the entire logistics chain at the plant
Audi is testing systems for
the intelligent factory of the future. Audi is now preparing the first
industrial application. The company is also examining additional areas of
application for such robots.
“The autonomous transport of
our automobiles could allow us to eliminate long walking distances for our
employees and to improve the ergonomics of their work,” stated Prof. Dr. Hubert
Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at Audi AG, adding that “Systems
like this also have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of
The idea for the robots with
the name “Ray” came from the Bavarian company Serva Transport Systems and
gained it a nomination for the German Founder Award already in 2013. Ray is
freely movable and highly flexible. It consists of a frame six meters long and
three meters wide which uses sensors to determine the position and dimensions
of a car, and it then adjusts to it. The robot then carefully grips the wheels
and lifts the car up to ten centimeters.
Control software allocates a
space where Ray then parks the car. In this way, automobiles up to 5.3 meters
long can be quickly moved and temporarily stored in a space-saving manner. As
soon as a sufficient number of cars are available on the sorting level for a
certain destination, the robot moves them into place for shipment, said a press
statement from Audi.
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