Indoor & Outdoor Vehicle Tracking for Manufacturing

We power an indoor/outdoor vehicle tracking solution designed to increase efficiencies in industrial and manufacturing environments

Toyota

May 18, 2020

Introduction

In a factory setting, reduced process time equates to more throughput and lower costs. Therefore, factory managers are always looking for ways to reduce operational inefficiencies. In the automotive manufacturing world, hundreds of hours are lost each year due to looking for vehicles. We built an indoor / outdoor vehicle tracking solution that helps factory employees quickly locate vehicles in different zones and parking lots, reducing hours of work each week.

Business Problem / Pain Point

The last step of the inspection process at Toyota’s San Antonio manufacturing plant is the “Final Four” inspection area. Finished cars roll off the final assembly line at rates approaching one car every 30 seconds. Vehicles that fail final QA are diverted from outbound destinations and are randomly parked in large indoor and outdoor areas for further inspection and repair. Employees tasked with repairing defective vehicles typically work on different shifts and have difficulty finding specific VINs parked throughout the facility - often spending hours looking for cars - leading to frustration, increased labor costs, and operational inefficiency.

The Solution

We provided a fully turnkey solution to Toyota. We used low-cost, battery-powered trackers that can be quickly associated with vehicles that fail QA using VIN and/or work order number. The trackers use a combination of GPS and BLE to provide 3-5 meter accuracy of vehicle position both indoors and outdoors. Employees can use simple AWS-hosted web applications powered by the Leverege IoT Platform to find defective vehicles, see total inventory, and get walking directions to where the defective car is parked - saving significant time and resources.

The Architecture

Tracker indoor position is determined using Bluetooth Low Energy and outdoor location is determined using GPS. Sensors report their position and related information via cellular LTE-M connectivity to the Leverege Platform, where the data is stored in real-time and historical databases. With this architecture, this solution can live outside of existing IT infrastructure and avoid security concerns. Leverege created custom dashboards to make that data useful and actionable, allowing factory managers to track and monitor inventory, and empower floor employees to quickly locate and find the vehicle they are looking for.

Employees at the end of the assembly line quickly associate trackers to defective vehicles with a simple mobile app by scanning barcodes, QR codes, VIN plates, and/or work orders on the vehicle and the tracker. The solution includes a tailored dashboard that works on laptops and mobile phones showing tracked vehicles as they move through the facility and are parked. Users can visualize and export current and historical tracker/vehicle inventory

Users have access to zone-level vehicle location in indoor spaces through the use of BLE beacons. Highly precise outdoor location is provided via GPS in the various parking lots surrounding the manufacturing plant. To address the issue of trackers remaining on production-ready vehicles, employees can opt-in to receive text/email alerts and are provided with a visual indication on the web app when vehicles enter dynamically defined off-limits zones.


Toyota

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