Audi has employed drones at its Neckarsulm site in Germany to find cars that are ready to be dispatched using GPS and RFID technology. The drones fly over all the vehicles, saving their location to allow employees to prepare for dispatch more efficiently.
Audi has been using custom made autonomous drones to mark the location of each car in the site, so when the car is ready to be shipped, the employees know exactly where the car is and the best way to get it out of the never-ending sea of new Audis.
The drones use a combination of GPS and RFID technology to locate the cars thanks to RFID chips built into the Audi cars which beam a unique identification number to the drone flying above.
The drone flies a predetermined path over the cars scanning the RFID chips in them while collecting GPS data that is then matched up with the unique identification number. When the drone lands it connects to WiFi and transfers the data over to a database where all the cars are showed on a virtual map.
The site has had to specially train employees to monitor the drone and take over in case something goes wrong with the automation. To make the system even more fail-proof, the drone receives weather data before each flight and if it is out of the safe operating parameters the drone won’t take off. The batteries are also checked before each flight to make sure they are charged and are at a safe temperature.
The pilot program is currently being moved over to a more permanent program, which will see more data collected on the drone operations to see if the drones are the right move to make at the rest of Audi’s sites. If all goes well, expect to see drones flying above cars at Audi’s sites and eventually other car makers.