PALO ALTO, CA—Engineers at Tesla Inc. have developed a new wiring architecture that enables more robot automation in the manufacturing process and uses fewer materials. According to Elektrek, a news website that focuses on electric transportation and sustainable energy, the patent-pending wire harness design will be used for upcoming models such as the Model Y crossover utility vehicle and the Tesla pickup truck.
Tesla’s controversial CEO, Elon Musk, admits that one of the automaker’s biggest mistakes was attempting to automate tasks that humans are much better at than robots, such as manipulating cables. To address this issue, Tesla engineers have been reducing the length of wiring harnesses used in its vehicles.
The Model S has about 3 kilometers of wiring harnesses vs. 1.5 kilometers for the Model 3. The long-term goal is to reduce this to just 100 meters.
Tesla’s recent U.S. patent application describes more rigid wiring harness systems that can be more easily manipulated by robots. It claims that “In addition to decreasing the number and length of wiring needed, the ability to create these subassemblies and then connect them to the wiring-architecture backbone will decrease assembly time during general assembly, which is very desirable to increase productivity in a vehicle manufacturing process.”