Robots learning sounds of car breakdown 0


Sometimes, the most imperceptible change in engine note or rattle from the air-conditioning can indicate to the seasoned driver, a vehicle that’s contemplating breaking down.

These premature symptoms of failure act as an excellent and quite often money saving early warning signal for drivers, potentially saving significant sums of money from early services being booked before lasting damage is incurred.

The human ear is adept at picking up these subtleties, and now a number of ambitious start-up companies are attempting to teach robots to do the same. Changes in sound, vibrations, heat emissions and other signals that machines emit as they’re considering failure are to be learnt by test artificial intelligence subjects which if successful, will be potentially be incorporated into vehicle technology.

Naturally, one of the most useful ways this technology can be implemented is in vehicles’ onboard computer systems, detecting mechanical failures before they occur.

“We’re developing an expert mechanic’s brain that identifies exactly what is happening to a machine by the way that it sounds,” says Amnon Shenfeld, founder and CEO of 3DSignals, a start-up based in Kfar Saba, Israel.

While most current efforts are currently focused on large-scale machinery, Shenfeld says the same sort of technology might one day help detect failures in home appliances or in devices like self-driving cars or rental vehicles that don’t spend much time in the hands of an owner who’s used to their usual sounds.

“When you have rental vehicles, the person in the car doesn’t know the car,” he says. “If it sounds strange, you’re losing this link with the human in the car deciding it’s time to take it to the mechanic.”

“The next time we hit this signature on the same machine for the same customer or another customer using the same type of machine, it will not just be anomaly detection,” says Shenfeld.

Shenfield’s start-up is one of several firms across the globe playing with the technology which, if successful, could be worth billions to car manufacturers and consumers alike.

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