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Volkswagen Group to open up AWS-powered Industrial Cloud to third-party tech firms

Car manufacturer Volkswagen Group has unveiled the next phase of its Industrial Cloud strategy, which includes the creation of an open ecosystem of supportive software partners

Volkswagen Group has set its sights on opening up its Amazon-powered Industrial Cloud platform so that other tech firms can plug their applications into it, and assist the motor manufacturer with bolstering the efficiency of its production plants.

Details of the firm’s Industrial Cloud strategy emerged in March 2019, with the announcement that Volkswagen Group had entered into a multi-year cloud deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS), geared towards creating a centralised production platform for all of its manufacturing plants to plug into.

The platform forms the basis of the Industrial Cloud, which uses AWS’s machine learning, internet of things (IoT), and data analytics tools to process information generated from its production facilities in real-time to hone its processes.

With the Industrial Cloud now seemingly in place, the Volkswagen Group is now working with AWS and its integration partner Siemens to open the platform up to other technology and manufacturing firms, so they can submit their own software applications for use by Volkswagen.

The idea being that these applications will be made available to each manufacturing plant Volkswagen operates through an App Store-like interface, and pave the way for the creation of a wide range of industrial software applications that Volkswagen’s teams can dip into.

“Each location will be able to obtain applications for its machinery, tools and equipment direct from the Industrial Cloud to optimise production,” the company said, in a statement.

In time, this will lead to “significant efficiency and productivity gains”, the company said, while the partner companies will benefit from being able to “scale and further develop their applications in one of the world’s largest automobile production networks”.

To date, 11 companies have already signed up to join the Industrial Cloud, Volkswagen Group said, to make their software applications available to the company’s manufacturing plans and production sites.

As examples of the types of software applications its partners are in the throes of developing, Volkswagen Group flagged the creation of an artificial intelligence-powered algorithm created by one of its partners that will make its driverless plant logistics systems operate more efficiently.

Furthermore, one of its partners has already created software designed to optimise its plant efficiency, and an application for generating cloud-based digital twins so the company can run simulations to gauge the maintenance requirements of its machines.

In time, Volkswagen said the hope is that all of its factories and global supply chain will be plugged into the platform.

“Today’s news continues our initial mission of the Industrial Cloud project to help Volkswagen together with Siemens and their partners to focus their resources on optimising production, creating new business opportunities for smart products, and improving operational efficiency across the entire value chain,” said Dirk Didascalou, vice-president of AWS IoT.

“We look forward to watching the marketplace collaboration flourish as participants take advantage of the AWS native open architecture of the Industrial Cloud.”

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