NVIDIA Digital Twins Help Mercedes Build Next-Gen Factories

The News: NVIDIA digital twin technologies will be used by German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz to design its next-gen vehicle production factories, helping Mercedes to lay out and plan new facilities digitally before ever setting a girder or brick into place. By using NVIDIA digital twin technologies in NVIDIA’s Omniverse open 3D development platform, Mercedes expects to streamline the costly processes of making major physical production line changes when new vehicle models are unveiled, including when switching from building gasoline-powered to electric-powered vehicles. The Mercedes news was announced at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. Read the full blog post about NVIDIA Digital Twins being used by Mercedes-Benz.

NVIDIA Digital Twins Help Mercedes Build Next-Gen Factories

Analyst Take: NVIDIA digital twins already have my enthusiastic attention, but this latest announcement on how Mercedes-Benz is buying into the promise and reality of digital twins in designing its next-gen vehicle manufacturing and assembly facilities has me even more excited.

Digital twins are for real. I have seen them with my own eyes in demos and client briefings and I have spoken about them with experts who cannot rein in their enthusiasm about their possibilities and capabilities. In technology, this is often seen as blustering, but when it comes to digital twins and NVIDIA Omniverse, I have truly seen what is possible in the future using this technology. And even more amazing, that future is possible right now.

Digital twins allow enterprises, designers, facilities managers, builders, engineers, and others to visualize, design, build, modify, and then again change their ideas, products, facilities, widgets, vehicles – whatever – on an almost infinite completely digitized platform that inspires creativity and possibilities. It is a truly revolutionary and evolutionary technological breakthrough that gives enterprises flexibility and broader imagination for solving their business challenges in real time.

Mercedes-Benz’s adoption of NVIDIA digital twins using Omniverse is another huge acknowledgement of the need for such tools and for the continuing growth and capabilities of digital twins.

For Mercedes and other automakers, building cars and trucks is incredibly complex, requiring specialized and individual tooling and facilities for vehicles of every model, size, and propulsion method. And changing those facilities over to be able to build a different model or vehicle type, or moving a model to electric propulsion on an existing production line is an even bigger step.

Multiply that by many vehicles and their differences and it becomes even more staggering for auto makers.

But digital twins help with all that by allowing Mercedes-Benz to visualize and then design these inherent changes within Omniverse by creating a digitized replica of an existing facility. That changeable, flexible, useful digital twin can then be envisioned with the needed changes that will make it easier to design and build any needed changes in real life in brick, mortar, steel and glass.

By using NVIDIA digital twins, Mercedes can make any changeovers in their factories and assembly lines more quickly and economically by resolving any problems or challenges in these digital versions, rather than having to make expensive and delay-inducing modifications on real world factory floors. Factory shutdowns for the modifications can also be shortened and vehicle production can get back on track sooner as well.

Mercedes-Benz said it will use this digital twin approach starting at its existing vehicle manufacturing plant in Rastatt, Germany, where the company currently manufactures its A- and B-Class vehicles, its compact GLA SUV, and its all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQA. Here Mercedes is using Omniverse to design and build new production facilities that will produce its new dedicated platform for electric vehicles at Rastatt.

The resulting NVIDIA digital twin is being used as part of Mercedes’ “digital first” planning process for the reconfigured plant so production of the current compact car models at the site will not be disrupted. Mercedes said it will also follow this more agile production improvement strategy in its factories in other parts of its global Mercedes-Benz production network.

I believe that this Mercedes adoption of the NVIDIA digital twin technologies within Omniverse is a smart move by the automaker to bolster and revolutionize its existing and future manufacturing operations.

As I have written before, NVIDIA Omniverse is an extensible 3D design collaboration and simulation platform for enterprises that lets 3D creators, developers, and enterprises collaborate, giving them a wide range of ways to visualize, simulate, and create new ideas. Omniverse is a simulation engine for virtual worlds of all kinds, which gives it amazing capabilities for companies like Mercedes-Benz.

The beauty of Omniverse digital twin modeling is exactly what Mercedes is working with today – giving enterprises the abilities to take new ideas and simulate them in realistic, high-resolution virtual environments to be sure they work before money is spent on modifying manufacturing plants.

With Omniverse and NVIDIA digital twins Mercedes-Benz is seeing the full promise and capabilities of this technology for its global operations and is broadly adopting it to continue its own digital transformation.

I believe that this use of NVIDIA digital twins and Omniverse by Mercedes will become a brilliant new use case for other automakers as the power of AI, the metaverse, and continuing digital transformation is embraced by even more enterprises in the next few years.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

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NVIDIA GTC 2022: NVIDIA and Pluribus Networks Seek to Unify and Secure Cloud Networks by Extending SDN Fabric Automation to DPUs

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Image Credit: techdesignforums.com

Author Information

Todd joined The Futurum Group as an Analyst after over 20 years as a technology journalist covering such topic areas as artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning (DL), machine learning (ML), open source and Linux, high-performance computing, supercomputers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, IT security and more.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Todd previously served as managing editor of EnterpriseAI.news from 2020 through 2022 where he worked to drive coverage of AI use and innovation in the enterprise. He also served in the past as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK and freelanced for a wide range of tech websites, including TechRepublic, Channel Futures and Channel Partners, Computerworld, PC World, Data Center Knowledge, IT Pro Today, Linux.com and The Linux Foundation.

Todd holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A Philadelphia native, he lives in Lancaster County, Pa., and spends his spare time tinkering with his vintage Mazda Miata convertible and collecting toy taxis from around the world.


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