BMW claims to be the first automaker to implement a robotic optical measuring cell at a BMW Group pilot plant in Munich. It’s essentially a fully automated 3D scanner that can create a digital model of a full-sized vehicle in half the time previously required.

BMW’s system combines its optical measuring cell with a robotic arm that can freely move around and map the vehicle from all sides with an accuracy of less than 100 micrometers. Two robots can be setup in a garage-sized space to work in parallel and complete the scan twice as fast. Each robot is fitted with two sensors that go along the vehicle capturing the surfaces in 80 cm x 80 cm squares that are then put together to create a composite. A single measurement provides a 3D data model of the total vehicle.

BMW fully automated robotic measuring cell
BMW fully automated measuring cell (Source: BMW)

The new, automated system can be run at full capacity, including during off-peak hours or overnight.  BMW says analysis of the resulting model helps catch flaws or other deviations from the standard vehicle design early on. It’s like an extra, high-tech layer of quality control.

The BMW 5 Series Sedan will be the first vehicle in its lineup to fall under the watchful eye of the new optical cell.

> Read more by Eric Mack, New Atlas, July 28, 2016

BMW is using faster robotic optical scanners to ensure its cars measure up