Eyes in the sky
Keeping track of new vehicles at Audi’s Neckarsulm facility requires high-flying solutions.
Audi is using a specially developed drone system to locate vehicles that are ready for dispatch at the Neckarsulm site.
5 August, 2020
Keeping track of which vehicles are where at the sprawling facility has meant the development of specialist technology to assist
You really need to visit Audi’s Neckarsulm site near Stuttgart to get any appreciation of just how big and complex a place it is. Responsible for the production of numerous Audi vehicles – A4 Sedan, the A5 Cabriolet, the Audi A6, the Audi A7, and the Audi A8 – as well as the Audi R8 which is built at the Böllinger Höfe facility, the numbers of cars produced is significant to say the least.
In fact the number of vehicles rolling off the production lines at Neckarsulm makes precise order planning particularly challenging. Keeping track of which vehicles are where at the sprawling facility has meant the development of specialist technology to assist.
Audi is using a specially developed drone system to locate vehicles that are ready for dispatch at the site, flying over the vehicle dispatch area autonomously and using GPS and RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to identify and save the exact position of all vehicles it flew over.
“The drone provides support from a completely new perspective. We will now share our experiences with other Audi sites and within the VW Group,” explains Steffen Conrad, project manager in the area of Innovation Management at the Audi site in Neckarsulm.
The specially developed hexacopter, a drone with six propellers, flies over the vehicle dispatch areas on predefined routes at a height of around 10 metres and determines the exact position of the cars parked there. The drone uses an RFID reader to read out every vehicle while flying directly over the dispatch area and saves the GPS position identified. As soon as the flying device has landed, the data is transmitted to a database via Wi-Fi automatically. After the flight, the result is then displayed on a digital map for the employees.
The drone takes off, flies, and lands in a completely autonomous manner. The trained Audi employees start and monitor the flight from a laptop or tablet. In the event of an emergency, they can use a remote control to intervene in the otherwise fully automatic operation.
The pilot project is currently being transferred to permanent series testing, but it is conceivable that drones will be used to locate vehicles at other Audi sites as well in the future.
The specially developed hexacopter, a drone with six propellers, flies over the vehicle dispatch areas on predefined routes at a height of around 10 metres
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