The Industrialist: Trends & Innovations - Mar 2022
Trends and innovations that matter
Know more about the latest
industry, from autonomous
tractors that plant and harvest,
to battery-as-a-service financing.
a front runner
Global Industrial Sector Lead, Accenture
Schneider Electric acquires
UK start-up Zeigo
Schneider Electric has acquired a renewable energy platform to expand its
portfolio of digital energy and resource management solutions and boost
its environmental advisory services. Zeigo, which operates in the US,
Europe, Australia and Brazil, connects more than 100 renewable energy
developers and suppliers and harnesses machine learning to make market
predictions. The start-up has setup a power purchase agreement (PPA)
tender process that enables companies with more than 5 GWh of power
consumption to secure solar or wind-generated electricity. To date, it has
supported more than 13,000 megawatts of corporate PPAs since 2014.
The demand for PPAs is set to grow as companies pursue decarbonization
targets, and Schneider is now positioned to capitalize on that growth
while advancing its own digital energy transformation ambitions.
Johnson Controls buys
edge AI software FogHorn
Johnson Controls has acquired FogHorn, the company behind
industrial and commercial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions that
harness edge artificial intelligence. FogHorn’s technology will
bolster Johnson Controls’ own OpenBlue solution and help bring
secure, actionable insights to the sustainable, autonomous
buildings of the future. As more and more sensors are fitted into
buildings, companies are being overwhelmed by the amount of
data being generated. Together, Johnson Controls and FogHorn
aim to harness that data and apply intelligence at the edge
to help tackle decarbonization, sustainability, energy efficiency,
indoor air quality and smart security challenges for buildings.
DEKRA has launched an iOS and Android app that analyzes the
condition of any elevator in minutes. Aimed at improving safety,
LIFT Check requires users to place their smartphone on an
elevator floor to take detailed measurements in just one ride.
The app measures vibrations, noise, speed, and rail running
to make calculations on the elevator’s quality in minutes.
Developed with TK Elevator, engineers took 500 measurements
across four different continents to build the app, before testing
it in Germany’s Rottweil elevator test tower. LIFT Check is now
being rolled out globally among TK Elevator test engineers.
ASI Mining and
Epiroc Drilling partner
ASI Mining has partnered with Epiroc Drilling Solutions
to expand its Mobius(R) autonomy platform to include drills.
The platform already had functionality for haulage and blasting,
and enables multi-vehicle command, control, and monitoring
to increase site safety and productivity. The new drills
application will complement the system and enable companies
to translate drill data into actionable insights. For example,
the platform can combine drill plans with live drill data to map
usage and create productivity reports that inform decision-
making. The solution can also connect autonomous drills with
other autonomous operations, such as haulage and operator-
controlled vehicles, all within one, streamlined ecosystem.
Konecranes launches monthly
Konecranes has launched a Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) business to help
customers finance their use of the E-VER range of Li-Ion powered electric
forklift trucks. Through this service, users can buy E-VER electric heavy
forklifts without a battery, instead choosing to access the chargeable,
upgradable and remotely monitorable Li-ion battery in a way that works
for their business. For example, the battery can be secured for a monthly
fee based on real-time usage. The battery can also be monitored via the
Konecranes customer portal. For businesses that have historically faced
big upfront costs for batteries that degrade over time and lose resale
value, the new offering provides a welcome solution.
Autonomous tractor drives,
plants and harvests
John Deere has unveiled a self-driving tractor that can be
controlled from a farmer’s smartphone. The technology is
being trialed in the company’s 8 series tractor, which can be
configured to plant seeds, spray nutrients and harvest crops
to inch-level accuracy. The accompanying app can be used
by farmers to pause operations, find out how much fuel is in
the tractor, how long it’s been running or how much time it has
spent idle. They can even inspect images of obstacles recorded
by the tractor’s 12 stereo cameras. The technology, announced
at CES 2022, will be available to buy at the end of the year.
It significantly advances the field of precision agriculture
and addresses growing concerns around worker shortages.
Volkswagen and Bosch
Cariad, a Volkswagen software subsidiary, has partnered with Bosch
to develop automation software for Volkswagen cars. The two companies
will use Volkswagen vehicle data to develop Level 2 autonomous software
(enabling temporary hands-free driving in cities, rural areas and on
motorway) to be used in cars by 2023. They also plan to develop the
higher Level 3 software, which operates all driving functions when the
vehicle is on the motorway. Bosch will eventually be able to use the
technology outside of the partnership. Volkswagen has already invested
$2.6 billion in self-driving start-up Argo AI, as it races to compete with the
likes of Tesla, and has committed to spending $101 billion on electric
vehicle and software development over the next five years.
‘super-computer’ car chip
Mobileye has developed EyeQ Ultra, a powerful, efficient chip
designed to power fully autonomous vehicles. The company
claims the chip will be able to run 176 trillion operations
per second, ensuring it can handle all processes necessary
to enable fully autonomous Level 4 driving, with no need for
human intervention. EyeQ Ultra will also achieve this without
the high levels of computing power consumption and costs
usually associated with such powerful systems. The chip could
be used to power all kinds of self-driving vehicles in the future,
and works with Mobileye’s True Redundancy vision sensing
technology and its crowdsourced Road Experience Management
(REM) mapping technology. The chip is expected to hit full,
automotive-ready production by 2025.
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