Self-driving cars hold great promise, and some think their arrival is just around the corner, but they continue to face significant challenges regarding safety, usefulness and affordability, Karen Hao writes. Israeli company Mobileye has been working to overcome those barriers through development of detailed road maps and collaboration with regulators around the world.
Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe passed on an acquisition by General Motors to pursue his own vision of producing a lineup of electric SUVs and trucks. Now he's winning big backing from the likes of Amazon and Japan's Sumitomo Corp. with prototypes that boast much greater driving range than the most recent EVs on the market.
Proctor & Gamble has begun selling limited quantities of water-free soap swatches on a new website that offers both laundry detergent and hand soap, and plans to add limited-quantity sets of six more items in June. The products have been under development for years, but the company has not yet decided if they will be available under an existing P&G brand or if a new brand will be created.
Manufacturers with valuable proprietary knowledge and vulnerable supply chains are prime targets for cyberattacks also drawn by the convergence of operations technology with information technology networks. To effectively guard against cyberthreats, it's important to understand what motivates the malefactors and concentrate your defenses at the most inviting points, cybersecurity executive Brian Wrozek writes.
Edge devices with their ability to process data locally present advantages in the internet of things over cloud analytics, but also may introduce security vulnerabilities. Nanolock Security Vice President Yoni Kahana discusses how cloud-to-flash technology solutions can thwart software attacks by protecting contents in the flash and monitoring end-point device status.
Automation has helped remove silos in purchasing and inventory control, and today, smart warehouse systems are beginning to transform the entire supply chain, Motion Industries' Joe Limbaugh says. "Couple [smart technology] with a practice that unites all supply chain departments under one structure, and you can see how the game has changed," Limbaugh says.
Digital marketplaces create an ideal opportunity for procurement leaders because they make price and stock comparison across suppliers easy to do, writes Ian Nethercot. There are challenges, however, such as differences in regulations and standards along with security and data dangers, but they can be avoided by managing marketplace selection.
Industry 4.0 digital technologies are succeeding the application of various lean philosophies to drive continued improvements in manufacturing. Nukon senior consultant Kim Faddaman explores five competencies central to achieving digital maturity: automated workflow, decision support, mobility, workforce upskilling and change management.
The coming of artificial intelligence has generated high expectations as well as fears that AI machines will displace their human counterparts, writes Mark Buchanan. But it's becoming clear that AI has notable limitations that make the technology critically dependent on the human element and more useful as a help to mankind rather than a replacement.
Industrial transformation requires forethought and planning to bring people along with the new methods and technology being introduced, writes LNS Research senior associate Mehul Shah. Shah explores the role of organization in the process and concludes that "thoughtful operational architecture ... is the only way to ensure everyone has access to and can apply data from existing assets, people, processes, technologies and products."