Why fourth industrial revolution? The first one (end of the 18th century) started with a lot of technological innovations, for example the use of steam and hydropower or the construction of the first steam engine and the first railway. This enabled an increase in productivity and in quality.
The second one (beginning around 1920) enabled mass production thanks to the use of assembly lines and full or part automation as well as electric energy. We regard all these things as „always given“ nowadays.
The third revolution (since the 1970ies) happened right in front of our eyes and we were stunning when digitalization and computers entered our everyday’s lifes. Production robots also found their ways into the factories – but nowadays all these things have already become matter of course, too. A life without our laptops and smartphones? Unimaginable!
But what exactly is the fourth industrial revolution?
Here words like digitalization and mechanization are being used. IT and production are being connected, a communication between machine and machine is possible, software technology enables communication with mechanic or electric technology (use of cyber physical systems). But also sustainability is a really important keyword in this time. (We’ll hear more about it in one of the next blog posts here.)
Let’s have a look at the automotive industry! Many of us have seen the movie „Back to the Future“ where Marty travels to the future, exactly to 2015, with a DeLorean which was driven by atomic power. Today we have reached this „future“ and in the automotive industry a lot of things indeed have changed. Most of the new cars for example are equipped with braking or parking assistant systems, just to mention the most common items. But also, autonomous driving is already within reach
The interconnection of the real world with the virtual one brings a lot of new opportunities but also a lot of new risks.
All this progress helps in a lot of areas (autonomous vehicles, engineering,…) but there are also a lot of possible sources of error. We all remember „Tschernobyl“ or „Eschede“. Or self-driving Uber car’s fatal collision with a pedestrian last month… All these accidents and many dead were traced to machine faults.
That’s exactly why we have to think more safety-critical nowadays. Another example are autonomous vehicles which have been tested and accident or breakdown reports show us that there are many accidents happening and exactly these accidents must be avoided!
A car should stop at a red traffic light, but it doesn’t – machine fault!
A drone is programmed to avoid a crash with the aircraft, but it collides with it – machine fault!
SAFETY! Safety must be first priority!
KONTROL wants to contribute to this important issue. How? Details will follow in one of our next blog posts here…