An Israeli company has developed new artificial-intelligence technology that promises to dramatically change how original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers conduct quality control inspections.
With headquarters in Stamford, Conn., and Tel Aviv, Israel, UVeye currently is working with six major automakers to develop vehicle-inspection systems on assembly lines and at new-car dealerships globally. The company’s technology will benefit other manufacturing sectors as well.
UVeye inspection systems rely on proprietary hardware, cloud architecture, sensor fusion, machine learning and “smart” algorithms to automatically check virtually every exterior component on a vehicle, including bodywork, tires, exhaust systems and chassis components.
The company has raised more than $35 million in investment capital to begin deployment of its inspection systems at Volvo, Toyota Tsusho and other partners. Non-disclosure agreements prohibit the company from discussing development programs underway with a number of other automakers.
Three basic automotive inspection systems have been developed by the company:
Atlas—a 360-degree inspection system that scans sheet metal and other external body components such as bumpers, door locks, grilles and windows.
Helios—An underbody scanning system that can detect a wide variety of problems including frame damage and fluid leaks, as well as brake and exhaust-system issues.
Artemis—A drive-through product that checks tire wear and quality, including tire pressure, tread wear and sidewall flaws.
Amir Hever, UVeye’s CEO, notes that Volvo introduced an Atlas inspection system at one of its assembly plants during the first quarter of 2020 and Kavim, a major Israeli bus company, already has installed both Helios and Artemis to monitor predictive maintenance and tire quality on its 300-vehicle bus fleet.
The company’s Atlas quality-control system was shown for the first time in North America at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. In addition to its own exhibit, UVeye also had a kiosk in Honda’s CES display as part of the car company’s Xcelerator program designed to encourage new and transformative technology.
Dennis Clark, managing director of Strategic Venture Partnerships at Honda Innovations, said during CES that “by collaborating with innovative startups, we want to ensure that our associates have a safe production environment while providing them with advanced tools that make our manufacturing processes even more efficient.”
The Atlas system unveiled by UVeye at CES uses multiple high-resolution cameras to capture in seconds even the smallest exterior assembly defects, missing components and other quality-related issues. It generates thousands of images per second at multiple camera angles that can detect dents or scratches as small as 2 mm in diameter.
The company’s deep-learning technology initially was developed for the security industry to detect weapons, explosives, illegal drugs and other contraband. Today UVeye inspection systems are deployed at more than 100 high-security locations around the world and have generated millions of vehicle scans.
The company also announced the development of technology that can detect security threats on totally new or previously unscanned vehicles. UV Inspect software now provides law enforcement agencies and security professionals with the ability to automatically identify bombs, weapons, drugs and other security threats on vehicles that are not in existing security databases.
“Previously in use with only a select number of our clients, UV Inspect now is available to security-industry customers worldwide,” Hever said. “It offers an entirely new level of protection at border crossings, vehicle check points, hotel entrances and other commercial locations.”
Introduced in 2016, UVeye’s undercarriage threat-detection systems can scan vehicles traveling up to 25 mph (40 km/h) helping to improve traffic flow at check points and border crossings even under extreme weather conditions. The company’s tire-quality inspection system, Artemis, is proving to be an especially useful tool for major fleet operators, vehicle rental agencies, trucking companies and dealerships.
Artemis is designed to track down and identify a variety of safety-related issues, including a tire’s overall condition as well as tire pressure, scratches and abrasion. Artemis uses two scanners to monitor tire quality as a vehicle drives by. Within seconds it can read and recognize a tire’s brand, technical specifications and a variety of safety issues. The system, for example, can compare tire pressure to manufacturer specifications and report any irregularities.
Hever said that UVeye is negotiating programs with a number of global tire manufacturers, commercial-vehicle fleets, rental-car companies and dealership groups that have expressed interest in Artemis technology.
“Together with the rest of our product portfolio, Artemis is a key element in establishing future standards for vehicle inspection not only at new-model assembly plants, but on the road and at dealerships, major fleets and independent service garages,” Hever explained.
He added that UVeye’s technology can be used throughout the life-cycle of a vehicle, providing invaluable information based on a vehicle’s history, including component wear-and-tear.
Investors are especially optimistic about the future for UVeye inspection-system technology.
“Premium quality standards are at the core of the Volvo brand and we are intrigued by the possibilities that UVeye’s technology offers,” said Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “This type of advanced scanning technology could allow us to take the next step in quality.”
Mike Nannizzi, director of Fintech Investments at W. R. Berkley Corp., said: “When we made our initial investment in UVeye, we believed its system could have game-changing impact within security and inspection applications globally….We congratulate UVeye, Toyota Tsusho and Volvo Cars for building a cohesive partnership with enormous potential.”
Edited from material supplied by UVeye.
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