CLA Series: AV Production Tip #7 – Understand that Reliable Production is Critical for Business Success

In the last installment of our spotlight Capital Light Assembly podcast series, "7 Tips to Reliably Scale Autonomous Vehicle Production," we delve deeper into the significance of reliable production for business triumph. Brandon Bartneck, VP and GM of Edison, underlines the critical role of manufacturing in the growth of AV companies and emphasizes the indispensable nature of hardware for autonomous vehicle business cases.

The following questions are addressed in this video:

  • Why is manufacturing so important for an AV company?
  • What role does production play?
  • Why is trust so important in a relationship with a manufacturing partner?

Key themes include:

  • AV production
  • Operational efficiency
  • Production performance
  • Customer-centric manufacturing

Key Takeaways:

  • The hardware components of an autonomous vehicle are just as important as the software components. The quality, safety, and reliability involved are critical.
  • Manufacturing and scalability need to be considered early on in the development process.
  • Whoever has hands on your production or production strategy needs to have your utmost trust.

Full Transcript:

Welcome to the Capital Light Assembly Podcast, brought to you by Edison Manufacturing and Engineering. Edison is your contract manufacturing partner focused on the capital-efficient assembly of complex mobility and mobility-adjacent products that are not well suited for highly automated production.

I’m Brandon Bartneck, vice president and general manager here at Edison, and you’re listening to part of a special series focused on how to reliably scale the production of autonomous vehicles.

So, how can you execute and scale that production? Building autonomous vehicles is part of our core business. It’s an area where we have a lot of experience and expertise. We’re using this series as a way to share some of that knowledge with anyone who’s going through this process, so I hope you enjoy it.

The seventh and final tip is to understand that reliable manufacturing is critical for business success. Autonomous vehicle software is super impressive. It's the computing, sensing, perception, path planning, and following all the algorithms that go into deploying this vehicle. It's astounding.

I'm very glad that the work is being done to put these things into practice and that all the difficult challenges are being worked on. For the vast majority of companies, and if you’re listening to this, you probably fall into this camp, but most know that software can't do anything without a hardware product. And independent of the business model, so it could be that you're a provider, and there’s some subscription-based stuff; if you're providing software, then yeah, this isn't applicable. But if there is a hardware component to your business, whether it's getting paid for the subscription to use a given vehicle or task execution of moving people or goods from A to B or selling the vehicle or whatever it is, the ability to have that vehicle physically there and sellable is fundamental. It's foundational for running and growing the business.

The software is useless if it is not in a vehicle that is actually going and making a difference. So, it's important to realize, right? This can literally make or break the company. We've seen this with electric vehicle startups over the last, whatever, long time, but we've also seen it in other industries, like the ability to scale production. It can be difficult, and it's critical, so this isn't something to take lightly.

It's important that manufacturing, as I mentioned right at the beginning, it's not a bolt-on solution. This is something that needs the appropriate care and attention. And whoever it is who's producing, again, whether it's in-house or an external manufacturing partner, you need to have complete trust that they're going to execute and that they're going to work closely alongside you. Have your best interests in mind. Have the ability to proactively see, ideally, and then work with you to overcome any challenges that come up. And I think that the trust piece and the flexibility piece all come together, and this is kind of the overall theme here, which is that you need to get this right. And yeah, I guess I'll leave it there for now. Understand that reliable production is critical for business success.