Caramba introduces artificial intelligence to car wash
By using artificial intelligence it is possible to measure exactly how dirty a vehicle in the car wash is. Chemistry and water use can then be adjusted to this. Caramba, German producer of car wash chemicals, is working hard on this.
Washing chemicals are a relevant cost factor for car wash operators. The fewer agents used during washing, the more beneficial it is for the operator as well as for the environment. This is where Caramba comes in with their latest project. The company is developing artificial intelligence (AI) that detects the pollution of a vehicle before it is washed. The use of detergents is fine-tuned accordingly. The motto of the approach is: as much as necessary and as little as possible.
The washing results in the current systems are of high quality, but the result are not the same for every vehicle. The decisive factor is the degree of dirt, the type of dirt and the condition of the vehicle – think of the surface quality of the paint. Environmental parameters play a different role. The weather and the season influence the customer’s choice of washing program and also the washing result. After all, the expectations of the customer also vary widely. By using artificial intelligence, the influencing factors are registered and assessed. This ultimately results in a use that is based on need and not a standard use.
This is how it works
Caramba’s AI project is being developed in collaboration with Mayato, part of the Positiv Thinking Group. It is currently in the phase of preparing the AI for use in the car wash. The project process can be summarized as follows: until approximately March 2021, the AI ”learns” what pollution is on vehicles. For this, the system is equipped with large amounts of data. The basis for this are photos of dirty vehicles. These are arranged in a grid and divided into segments using super pixels. With the help of this data, the AI can later recognize the pollution of a vehicle and make the right decisions about the use of detergents.
In the next phase of the project, the test phase begins in selected washing systems. The necessary renovation works are being carried out here and the pilot phase can begin.
Purpose of the AI project
The reduction in chemical washing costs is just one of the drivers of this project. The overarching goal is to make vehicle cleaning even more environmentally friendly by keeping all necessary resources to the minimum necessary. This also has consequences for the water consumption and water treatment of a washing installation.
Caramba’s AI project leverages digitization in a very tangible scope. Although the development is complex, the management of Caramba is satisfied with the current development. “The phase in which it is determined how dirty a vehicle is does take longer than expected. For us, this also means that we will be able to use the new technology more reliably later on. ” This is how Bernd Weyershausen sums it up, he is one of the managing directors of Caramba.
In the current phase there is already positive interest from manufacturers of washing technology. In order for washing with AI to work as well as possible, there are structural features in a washing installation that must be taken into account when planning a system. That’s why Caramba collaborates with other representatives of the industry from the start.
Due to the complexity and working mechanism of AI washing, such a system will mainly be used in car washes. According to Caramba’s management, AI washing is in principle just as suitable for portal washing installations, but it is currently being developed mainly for car washes. The future will show which special conditions in car wash installations must be taken into account and what further effects this development will have on the car wash industry. CarwashPro naturally keeps its finger on the pulse.