Self-drive cars: how ERP providers can increase safety for passengers


  • 23.02.2017
  • Karlsruhe

What would happen if a faulty component prevented a self-driving car from stopping when it needed to? People who no longer drive themselves would probably grab the steering wheel too late – if at all. If accidents increase, litigation claims will too. In order to avoid that, it is becoming increasingly vital for automotive suppliers to ensure they have an integrated flow of real-time information throughout the entire production cycle and lifespan of their products. At this year’s CeBIT (20-24 March in Hannover), Asseco Solutions will show visitors how efficiently-networked ERP solutions can be used as a control centre encompassing all other systems. On Stand B26 in Hall 5, the ERPII provider’s specialists will be using a 3D metal printer from the company OR Laser to demonstrate how machines can be connected directly to the ERP system with no need for an MES solution in the middle.

Come and visit us at the CeBIT

Self-drive cars are just one of the trends currently prompting a sea change in the automotive industry. This segment has long been subject to strict regulations and obligations for liability reasons. Now, driverless vehicles are causing a dramatic increase in the pressure on automation and documentation processes. If a critical component, such as the brakes, fails in a conventional car, this can have drastic and perhaps even fatal consequences. This can be exacerbated in an autonomous car as passengers may not be attentive enough to intervene in the seconds before an accident happens.

Security and liability issues require end-to-end information flow

This is why autonomous cars must be capable of achieving the highest possible levels of passenger safety by reacting immediately, even while the car is running, if there are signs that a component may be about to fail. This is only possible if all hardware and software elements are seamlessly integrated with each other and can communicate with each other automatically whenever necessary. This should cover everything from the car’s internal IT equipment and the carmaker’s systems through to the automotive suppliers’ components. The important thing is to ensure a complete chain of information running through the entire planning and manufacturing process of every car.

This makes it possible to analyse data generated while the car is running and compare it with the information documented in other data sources. If a component is showing signs of a risk of failure, the system is capable of reacting immediately. This complete information flow is also essential for other cars of the same model or series. It provides the rapid traceability and analysis of a defective component – covering the automotive supplier, the identification of specific batches and the materials used for the part. If the analysis finds that the defect may be present in other series of the car, manufacturers can take all necessary measures to prevent accidents.

ERP as a control centre

To create this type of seamless information chain, the ERP solution must become a comprehensive, centralised information repository covering the entire lifecycle of the car. It must be capable of interconnecting all relevant systems as efficiently as possible, coordinating all the streams of information they generate, and providing the basis for any real-time analyses required.

The Asseco solution APplus gives its users a high level of flexibility that makes it easier for them to integrate all types of automotive production machines into the information chain – regardless of their specific requirements. These machines can be connected using the MES that has been integrated into APplus as standard since Version 6.2. In addition, the new version of APplus – 6.3 – enables users to directly integrate third-party systems using the innovative Business Integration Framework (BIF), without programming changes to the ERP system. That enables a machine to communicate directly with the ERP system with no need for an MES between them. As the data sharing process runs without an intermediate system, even large volumes of machine data can be transmitted, processed and analysed much faster – almost in real time.

3D metal printer illustrates direct machine connection

On its CeBIT booth, Stand B26 in Hall 5, Asseco will use a 3D metal printer from the Asseco customer OR Laser to demonstrate how machines can be connected directly to the ERP system using its Business Integration Framework. The printer is simply configured to connect to APplus, enabling the two systems to share order and production data via XML. It will produce the objects ordered by the ERP system live on the Asseco stand and report the job’s progress back to the system.

In addition to efficient machine integration, the traceability of automotive parts will also be demonstrated on the Asseco stand. Along with the 3D printer, a laser engraving machine from OR Laser will be directly connected to APplus. Combined with the ERP system, this machine is able to mark even the smallest components live and in real time to add a unique identifier to each one, enabling the rapid traceability of individual components whenever required.

Automotive in the digital era – on the Asseco stand at CeBIT

Visitors can gain some insight into the automotive processes of the future by coming to the Asseco booth at this year’s CeBIT (20-24 March) in Hall 5, Stand B26. The ERP provider will be showing live demonstrations of the direct interaction between APplus and OR Laser’s 3D metal printer and laser engraving machine. Asseco specialists will also be on hand to answer any questions on digitalisation and smart manufacturing/Industry 4.0 and to present the current version of the APplus solution using multiple realistic demos. Customers and other interested parties can arrange a meeting with Asseco Solutions specialists by emailing their request to as-ka@asseco.de. Requests for press interviews will be handled by phronesis PR on +49(0)821/444-800 or info@phronesis.de.