BMW is relying more on artificial intelligence in South Carolina at the Plant Spartanburg where it makes the X3 through X7 SUVs, plus the recently launched plug-in hybrid XM flagship M model. How has AI been implemented in the “home of the X” models? CNBC sat down and had a chat with BMW Group Manager Curtis Tingle to find out the benefits, which can be found primarily in the body shop.

Each and every single day, robots weld up to 400 metal studs onto the frame of an X vehicle, resulting in a daily output of approximately 500,000 studs. To eliminate human error, BMW has integrated AI tech to make sure all studs are perfectly placed. It not only boosts quality but also efficiency as the output is far greater compared to having people manually check the studs of each car.

In fact, Tingle says the AI-assisted correction laser has increased efficiency about five times compared to what BMW had thought was achievable. At the same time, using this foolproof technique has allowed the luxury brand to relocate six workers to perform other jobs within the Spartanburg factory. Using AI for stud correction is saving the automaker more than $1 million a year. That’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but with huge investments being made in EVs, every cent counts nowadays.

When issues are detected by the AI, these are automatically flagged and fixed by human intervention so that an SUV isn’t delivered to its rightful owner with a defect. Before embedding artificial intelligence, it was impossible to check every single car. Consequently, BMW wouldn’t have been able to boost production to keep up with increasing global demand as X models are shipped all over the world.

Plant Spartanburg will be going through major changes in the upcoming years as the factory will assemble at least six fully electric SUVs on the Neue Klasse platform by 2030. A massive $1 billion investment will be made, plus another $700 million for a new battery assembly facility in Woodruff.

Source: CNBC