Toyota recently announced a new partnership with Invisible AI. The Austin, Texas-based technology startup will help automate Toyota Motor North America production lines, making operating conditions safer for factory workers.
The Japanese automaker’s investment in this new artificial intelligence technology will enable more informed choices regarding quality and productivity in the manufacturing process while solidifying its commitment to workplace safety.
Toyota cares about its employees
A Toyota Motor presentation on AI technology | YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Toyota has a set of guiding principles that include a basic philosophy for safety and health that states, “Safe work is the gate to all work. Let us pass through this gate.” It emphasizes the automaker’s dedication to ensuring employees are never involved in occupational accidents.
Using the new AI technology will allow the automaker to find deficiencies in production going beyond human observation and security cameras. The new system will place electronic surveillance on every point of the operation, allowing analysis of any potential issues that need attention or modification.
Stephen Brennan, Toyota Motors North America Group Vice President of Vehicle Production Engineering and the Manufacturing Project Innovation Center, told Forbes, “Invisible AI systems will help us increase the frequency and accuracy of process reviews as well as reduce the time needed to find inefficiencies across processes, giving us more time to focus on improvement.”
Addressing privacy concerns, Brennan explained, “Toyota production employees are active in developing, implementing and utilizing Invisible AI’s technology to anonymize the videos outside of their immediate production level.”
AI tech helps eliminate employee injuries
Without using facial recognition, the Invisible AI system will include thousands of devices that will be able to track eye movements and joint motions of workers on the Toyota production line.
Each workstation will have a self-contained intelligent device installed that includes a camera and processor with 1TB of storage to collect data on any motions that could potentially cause harm to workers over the long term. The system will be able to track 17 specific joint movements and pick up on physically demanding tasks to eliminate injury. It will also detect worker errors to improve the production process.
Team managers will be able to pull data reports from each shift, identifying in real-time where corrections or modifications are needed to improve efficiency and enhance safety measures.
Toyota plans to implement AI in its factories
According to Car Scoops, the Toyota production plant in Princeton, Indiana, is currently undergoing an $803 million renovation. There are plans to install 500 Invisible AI units to monitor half of the renovated facilities before expanding to the other half of the plant at a future date.
In an interview with Auto News, Eric Danziger, chief executive and co-founder of Invisible AI, said, “All the methods [companies] used right now to measure productivity, to measure throughput, to find bottlenecks – those are things that someone comes on line and just does five examples or maybe 20.” He explained, “But they’re not doing 6,000 because they don’t have the ability to do that level of time statistics. They don’t have the ability to see across shifts, across operators, across all these dimensions.”
Brennan claims, “Big data is crucial for process optimization and flexibility.” He explained, “with datasets so large and complex, it becomes difficult to process using traditional data processing applications.”
The Invisible AI technology system does not require data to be sent to a centralized hub, making it simple for production leaders to analyze data onsite. Brennan said, “We’re looking to use Invisible AI to bridge that gap for the human component of manufacturing.”