Interview: Future of industry defined by autonomous technologies, says ABB's CEO

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-03 04:03:09|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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by Shen Zhonghao, Li Jizhi, Lian Zhen

HANOVER, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The world is on the path to go from automated and digitalized industry towards autonomous industry, said ABB Group's Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer in an interview with Xinhua at the Hanover Fair.

In his view, with artificial intelligence (AI) augmenting humans' potential even stronger to drive the next wave of productivity, the future of industry is defined by autonomous technologies.

At this year's fair, the Swiss industrial technology giant ABB showcased how a production cell could work in the "factory of the future."

ABB's booth features a model production line assembling wristwatches in lot sizes of one in real time by robots with high precision.

"We demonstrate what we can do in the digital industry, which really changes the way how we produce, work, live and move," Spiesshofer told Xinhua.

He firmly believes that manufacturing in the future will be increasingly intelligent and flexible thanks to the integration of robotics with machinery and AI.

China is "a fantastic market for ABB, where we're fully integrated in the local value chain of robotics," he explained. The 55-year-old CEO predicts tremendous growth for the future.

ABB today has a full range of businesses in China, including research and development (R&D), manufacturing, sales and services.

In October 2018, the Swiss company announced an investment of 150 million U.S. dollars in Shanghai to build a new advanced robotized factory.

"I think China is a true powerhouse of AI," said Spiesshofer. He said he admired the momentum that China has been building in taking industry forward and using AI to drive productivity in a significant way, noting that "China is a strong market, a strong key technology base."

Using AI to complement its research and development staff in China will allow ABB to strengthen its team there and grow together with China in the future, said Spiesshofer.

"We will continue to invest...and (we) welcome the support of the Chinese government to make investments in China even easier," he said.

A total of 6,500 exhibitors from 75 countries and regions are present at the Hanover Fair. The five-day event showcases the latest technologies for industrial use.