Audi Plant Uses Robots to Move Cars

From Audi MediaCenter, March 6, 2015.

Audi is testing systems for the intelligent factory of the future: In a pilot phase at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt that started in February, two robots independently transport cars from production to an interim storage area. From there, they later place the sorted Audi models into position according to their shipping destinations, so that logistics employees can load them onto railway wagons. Audi is now preparing the first industrial application. The company is also examining additional areas of application for such robots.

“The autonomous transport of our automobiles could allow us to eliminate long walking distances for our employees and to improve the ergonomics of their work,” stated Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Board of Management Member for Production at AUDI AG. “Systems like this also have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of our processes.” 

The idea for the robots with the name “Ray” came from the Bavarian company Serva Transport Systems and gained it a nomination for the German Founder Award already in 2013. Ray is freely movable and highly flexible. It consists of a frame six meters long and three meters wide which uses sensors to determine the position and dimensions of a car, and it then adjusts to it. The robot then carefully grips the wheels and lifts the car up to ten centimeters. Control software allocates a space where Ray then parks the car. In this way, automobiles up to 5.3 meters long can be quickly moved and temporarily stored in a space-saving manner. As soon as a sufficient number of cars are available on the sorting level for a certain destination, the robot moves them into place for shipment.

Read the News Release from Audi.