Manufacturers are racing to automate. Businesses are digitizing their operations and leveraging edge computing to increase productivity by building systems of machines that work accurately and consistently around the clock to improve quality and output. Evolving into an automated, Industry 4.0 factory also enhances safety, enabling equipment, not people, to perform dangerous tasks.
Furthermore, automation reduces the labor hours required to do a job, enabling manufacturers to control costs and weather labor shortages. Additionally, automation can cover monotonous and unchallenging work, resulting in greater job satisfaction among employees who can spend their time on higher-level tasks.
Businesses keeping pace with this fourth Industrial Revolution by creating systems of connected devices, including both information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), are realizing that it’s not practical to process all data in the cloud. Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered, robotics, and other advanced systems often require minimal latency for subsecond responses. Therefore, solution builders are moving some computing workloads to the edge to provide automated systems with the effectiveness and reliability they need.
Connected vehicles, electric vehicles, and autonomous vehicles are gaining popularity. These advanced technologies require sensor fusion, wireless connectivity, power management, security, and other advanced driver-assistance systems, making automotive production more complicated. As a result, manufacturing processes must evolve as well.
For illustrations of how embedded computers are enabling Industry 4.0 functionality today, look no further than vehicle manufacturing and fleet management. For example:
Robots have a decades-long history of making automotive manufacturing more efficient. However, with advanced technologies supported by edge computing, manufactures, such as, automotive makers can leverage robots to build vehicles with more advanced designs that require more complex assemblies. Collaborative robots also give manufacturers more flexibility than industrial robots, allowing them to move capabilities where they’re needed without building costly new infrastructure.
Embedded computers give transportation and logistics enterprises the ability to track assets and provide advanced telematics that monitors driver behavior, idling and fuel use, vehicle performance, and indications that the vehicle requires maintenance. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are another uprising applications in warehouse and logistics.
Edge computing is key to autonomous vehicle operation, providing the capacity to run power-hungry driving algorithms and process data quickly so that the vehicle can safely respond to unexpected situations. Additionally, embedded computers in autonomous vehicles can receive data from nearby vehicles to enable smooth traffic flow through an intersection and maintain safe distances between cars and trucks on a highway in inclement weather.
Whether your use case is in automotive manufacturing, transportation and logistics, or any of numerous other industries that benefit from edge computing, solution builders need to choose precisely the right hardware for their application. Start with these key considerations for selecting embedded computers: