Automotive News - Traverse City - July 31, 2018 - 1





JULY 31, 2018

The supply
chain that
sees ahead
Supply chains have gotten
pretty good over the last 20
years. But they can get much,
much better, audiences will
hear this week at the CAR
Management Briefing
The new magic is 2018-age
computing power.
Artificial intelligence,
advanced software platforms
and the latest tools in data
collection and Internet
tracking are making it easier to
more or
less, where
is in real
time. And
will be able
to predict
precisely where everything is
going to be.
"Unpredictables" can be
crunched and turned into
manageable knowables, says
Cary VandenAvond,
president of manufacturing,
distribution and logistics for
supply chain solutions
company JDA Software, who
will be talking to customers
here this week.
If an ice storm halts traffic
on I-75 in Ohio, supply chain
managers know where their
trucks are stopped and for
how much of a delay. But
imagine also being able to
answer these questions: What
is every possible transit
alternative and at how much
added cost? How will
expediting some deliveries
during the storm mesh with
the rest of the supply chain
when it comes to completing
production of the car?
"We now have the
technology to digitize the
entire chain, from end to end,
for manufacturers to make
optimal decisions,"
VandenAvond says of the
industry. "The more external
data we can bring into our
decisions, the greater our
competitive advantage."
You may email
Lindsay Chappell

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New heart of the car: The GPU
Unit is key to self-driving
tech, Nvidia exec explains


Urvaksh Karkaria

omputing technology is transforming
the $10 trillion transportation industry.
And at the heart of that transformation
is the graphics processing unit, Danny
Shapiro, Nvidia senior director of automotive,
said Monday at the CAR Management Briefing
"We started as a video game company developing the hardware and software to enable 3D
graphics," Shapiro said of Nvidia. "The investments that we made in the GPU have enabled
this amazing resurgence in artificial intelligence
... and is now fueling autonomous vehicles."
Nvidia provides the AI platform on which automakers can build autonomous vehicle applications.
"We develop the tools, the hardware, the software for the automakers and the Tier 1s to build
the applications" that enable self-driving vehicles, Shapiro said.
Artificial intelligence is at the core of technology that lets vehicles interpret and respond to a
multitude of driving conditions, such as a vehicle
about to run a red light, that humans intuitively
recognize and process.
Vehicles can't be programmed for every case.
But they can be trained to recognize those situations and react. This is where AI comes in.
"We ingest petabytes and petabytes of information from cameras and radar and lidar and we use
that as a ground truth to train these systems on how
to recognize different things," Shapiro said.


Nvidia's Danny Shapiro: Graphics processing unit investments help transform the transportation industry.

If the system detects a cyclist approaching, it
could prevent the vehicle doors from opening for
a few seconds. If a pedestrian steps off a curb and
the driver is not paying attention, the system
could prevent the car from accelerating.
AI also has a future inside the car. It can use facial recognition, voice recognition and lip reading to understand the context of what's going on
in the cabin, Shapiro said.
Using video game technology, Nividia uses
simulation to train, test and validate the software
before putting it in cars and on roads.
"There's no way that we are able to drive
enough miles" to encounter all edge cases, Sha-

piro said. "So we'll actually use simulation to
create dangerous scenarios in virtual reality and
test the hardware and software that's going to go
into the car to ensure that the system is able to
make those detections and make the right driving decisions."
An example of Nvidia's AI platform is in the
Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, system debuting in the A-class sedan this year.
A key feature in MBUX is an AI-powered
voice-assistant service, similar to Apple's Siri system. "You can speak to the car in natural language," Shaprio said. "It'll understand and respond." a

'We must have a flexible vision' at Toyota
Quick changes key for
grappling with new tech


Michael Martinez

f you want a glimpse of Toyota Motor Corp.'s
vision for flexible manufacturing, consider
the plant rising in the central Mexico city of
The facility is so nimble, it already has switched
from building sedans to pickups - and it's not
even open yet.
The site was meant to build Corollas. But in the
midst of construction, the automaker's board of
directors decided to dedicate the plant to cranking out Tacoma pickups to fuel strong demand.
Mike Bafan, president of Toyota de Mexico, remembers the 5:30 a.m. call he received from
President Akio Toyoda after the decision was
made, asking how the drastic change would affect or delay the plant's construction.
Bafan's response?
"Frankly, it had no impact on us," he said Monday at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars.
"We designed a plant that was less conventional


Mike Bafan, president of Toyota de Mexico, said
Toyota's decision to change vehicles at its
Guanajuato plant "had no impact on us."

than what we've done in the past. We worked
very hard to design a layout that could manufacture just about anything: tricycles, cars or trucks."
The Guanajuato plant has docks on all sides so its
production line will be able to take in parts and get
them to specific spots in assembly quicker.

"Our goal was to make the entire assembly process very flexible so you can make changes
quickly," Bafan said.
Flexibility will be key in the future as automakers wrestle with new technology such as autonomous and electrified vehicles, he said.
Toyota's plant in Tijuana, Mexico, which builds
Tacoma pickups on three shifts, is another good
"It's sort of an incubator for many of the concepts we're trying to use and pursue in the future," he said.
The Tijuana plant has gone from making just
over 20,000 vehicles per year in 2005 to 100,000
last year; 170,000 is expected this year.
That's because Toyota places an emphasis on
continuous improvement and empowers its
workers to do their own machine care and diagnose problems.
The focus on flexibility reflects the company's
history, Bafan said. Toyota was founded as a
loom company but grew into a global automaker.
It now hopes to become a global mobility company.
"We must have a flexible vision and prepare for
tomorrow's needs today," Bafan said. a


n GM's Dan Grieshaber explains
how the automaker is using more
smart robots as it plans for future
manufacturing. I PAGE 4 I

n Continental North America's
Tamara Snow says "agile" product
development is key for companies
staying competitive. I PAGE 30 I

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