Volkswagen broadens public cloud commitment by partnering with AWS

Automotive manufacturing giant Volkswagen Group is continuing to build out its cloud strategy by setting out plans to work with Amazon Web Services to revamp its manufacturing processes

Volkswagen Group is continuing to expand its use of cloud by entering into a multi-year deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS), as it seeks to digitally transform its manufacturing and logistics processes.

The automotive manufacturing giant will use AWS’s public cloud technologies to create a centralised production platform for all 122 of its manufacturing plants to plug into.

The platform will incorporate elements of machine learning, internet-connected devices and data analytics to fine-tune Volkswagen’s manufacturing processes by using its compute power to process data from across all its plants in real-time.

The company said it hopes the resulting platform, dubbed the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, will help bolster the efficiency of its manufacturing plants, improve uptime and increase the quality of vehicles that roll off its production line.

To achieve this, the firm will be leaning heavily on Amazon’s internet of things (IoT) portfolio of services, including AWS IoT Greengrass and AWS IoT Core, to collect and categorise data from the manufacturing plant floor.

This data will be used to create a data lake using Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) so that it can be analysed, and – in turn – allow Volkswagen to refine its manufacturing processes and reduce waste.

The company also plans to use Amazon’s fully managed machine learning service, Amazon Sagemaker, to create and deploy machine learning models as part of the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud to make its manufacturing plants more efficient.

“With our global industry platform, we want to create a growing industrial ecosystem with transparency and efficiency bringing benefits to all concerned,” said Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG, a Volkswagen Group company.

News of its technology tie-up with Amazon comes one month on from it confirming that its cloud partnership with Microsoft, which underscores its connected car push, is entering a new phase.

The firm has previously expressed an interest in pursuing a multi-cloud strategy, having also tapped up OpenStack through its partnership with Mirantis to power its private cloud environments.

The Amazon deal, meanwhile, appears to suggest the company is building out its hybrid strategy further through its use of AWS Outposts, which it will use to host latency-sensitive applications within its manufacturing environments. 

Debuted at AWS Re:Invent in November 2018, the offering is designed to provide enterprises with access to AWS public cloud services within their own private datacentres  by deploying Amazon’s own hardware in them.   

Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, said he anticipates the partnership between the two firms will have a “profound impact” on the efficiency and quality of vehicles the company creates in the future.

“Volkswagen gains access to the broadest and deepest cloud with the most functionality, the most innovation, the highest performance and security, and the largest community of partners and customers of any other infrastructure provider,” he said.

“We are tightly aligned across Volkswagen’s businesses to help them reimagine the future of automobile manufacturing by taking advantage of all the benefits the cloud can deliver.”

The news also coincides with the announcement that Standard Bank Group is to move its customer-facing platforms and core banking applications to the to the AWS public cloud.

The migration is expected to affect all business units within the South African financial services firm to some degree, as part of a push by the group to create a more personalised banking experience for its customers.  

Read more about public cloud deployments in the automotive sector

Read more on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

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