Manufacturing in the 21st century looks a lot different than it did even 10 or 15 years ago. Today, the world’s leading manufacturers also comprise some of our most innovative technology companies, as advanced manufacturing opens up new possibilities seemingly every day. In short, manufacturing is technology.
The innovation and groundbreaking work being done by manufacturers was on full display this week at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest showcase of consumer technology. This year, many NAM members used the CES to announce exciting new products and projects that are helping to revolutionize how we think about manufacturing companies. Here are a few highlights:
Toyota announced an all-star leadership team in a major new initiative that will drive research and development into artificial intelligence and robotics research. According to the company, the Toyota Research Institute, launched in 2015, will work to “enhance the safety of automobiles, with the ultimate goal of creating a car that is incapable of causing a crash; increase access to cars to those who otherwise cannot drive, including the handicapped and the elderly; help translate outdoor mobility technology into products for indoor mobility; and accelerate scientific discovery by applying techniques from artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
Ford Motor Company also continued the trend of auto manufacturers making great strides in technology, with the launch of a new program that top tech news site CRN called one of the most important CES product announcements in 2016. Mark Fields, Ford’s CEO, announced a new partnership to develop smarter, more connected cars with Amazon. This initiative will use Amazon’s voice recognition technology to allow Ford owners to do everything from start their car from inside their home to getting diagnostic information on their vehicle. In another exciting initiative, Ford also announced new drone technology that will help government agencies better deploy drones in emergencies.
NAM member Big Ass Solutions announced a new initiative that will further the concept of the “connected home.” With the success of its Haiku series of app-enabled ceiling fans, Big Ass Solutions announced a new division, Haiku Home, which will focus on smarter and more connected home technologies.
These are just some of the many new technologies that manufacturers are working toward, driving the innovation that helps us lead more productive lives and propels our economy forward. Read more about what the NAM is doing to help support a culture of innovation by visiting our D.A.T.A. Center here.