Science and Technology

RoboJobs: Automation in Automotive

A robot may learn to walk your dog, but a robot could never truly replace your dog.
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RoboJobs: Automation in Automotive

Nobody tells you when you have arrived in the future. An endless procession of now slowly changes shapes until the world around us is populated by concepts only dreamed of in our parent's time. An undercurrent of innovation drives inventors, companies, and brands to adapt in order to meet and improve upon customer expectations. With automation, robotics, and drones finding places in many processes in and around the automotive industry, we wanted to dive into the topic ourselves (since no robot is going to do it for us) 

How did we get here? To trace the steps robotics and automation have taken to where we are today, we need to define what automation is. 

The term boils down to a wide range of technology that reduces human intervention in processes. 

A simplified example would be a thermostat. You select the desired temperature, and the device comes on and goes off without any further input from you. 

After the initial application of automated processes, innovators began using them in combinations to reduce labor, waste, and energy costs and increase the accuracy and quality of the resulting product. 

Fun fact: While the idea of automated tasks reaches back to the Industrial Revolution and beyond, the term "Automation" actually came to us through the automobile industry in 1946. The word was used to describe automatic devices and controls that mechanize production lines. DS. Harder, an engineering manager at Ford Motor Company, is credited with coining the word. 

Where are we now? Each day the media has new and exciting claims about companies finding applications for technology. Self-driving cars, drone delivery, and conversational AI all carry on the lineage of automation that started back when the first steam hammer pounded railroad spikes so fast that even John Henry thought about calling in sick.

However, an argument against the practice also persists - are robots stealing human jobs? A long history of resistance to automation on the grounds of employment paints an anxious picture of humans being replaced by machines. Research shows these anxieties decrease in areas with labor protection policies and laws. 

Advocates of further automation say the goal would be to supplement human efforts by performing hazardous, repetitive, and low-wage tasks with machines. 

Experts claim: In the US, 47% of all current jobs could potentially be fully automated by 2033. According to experts, even highly skilled professional roles are at risk. 

Where are we going? Simple. These technologies are changing and will continue to change the automotive industry. 

AIs can already answer phones, schedule appointments, or make outbound calls to tell people about new inventory. 

It is only a matter of time before a robot can perform an oil change or a tire rotation. 

How long before the network of data points and years of experience can be fed to a machine that makes automatic decisions about marketing and inventory purchases? (not anytime soon, but also not impossible) 

Pretending these technologies are not here or are going somewhere is not the safe bet. The question has to become, "What do dealers offer if a robot takes over everything we currently do?"  How do we protect the humanity of the customer experience, the flexibility of emotional intelligence, and the adaptability of seeking what is best for everyone involved? 

We are not here to tell anybody what to do, but it seems we all must start by asking the right questions. 

Other Sources: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automation

https://blog.airslate.com/history-of-automation-business-applications/

https://www.britannica.com/technology/automation

https://www.thinkautomation.com/bots-and-ai/a-history-of-automation-the-rise-of-robots-and-ai/

https://www.workfusion.com/blog/the-difference-between-robotics-and-automation/

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fords-assembly-line-starts-rolling

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Park_Ford_Plant

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