Our impact: The endless applications of autonomy

We’re back for the final part of our 3-part series (Our journey, Our influence, Our impact) on Hexagon’s journey to the present as we look forward to an autonomous, sustainable future. And this time, it’s all about impact.

An autonomous world is something that everybody should be getting excited about. While the word itself may bring to mind the more fantastical elements of science fiction, the truth is that Hexagon’s digital reality solutions are already impacting the world around us – autonomously – in very real and significant ways. 

Autonomy is the ultimate form of data leverage which is the key to enabling action and decision-making independent of human interaction. It is data at its best, most “grown up” state. Autonomous data doesn’t live a sheltered life in a silo by itself – Instead, it’s where data leverages data to make unaided decisions and learn from its mistakes, getting smarter over time.  

Put simply, autonomy is an advanced form of automation. While automated systems simply perform tasks on their own, autonomous systems adapt to dynamic environments. The more autonomous capabilities built into an automated system, the more valuable it becomes. That is what Hexagon is all about – moving industry beyond automation toward autonomy by putting humanity’s vast amount of underutilised data to work. 

Putting data to work improves any workflow or system, from improving simple repetition of pre-assigned tasks by manufacturing assembly equipment to ensuring safety of life in self-driving vehicles. With such a broad spectrum of possibilities available, it’s no small wonder that Hexagon’s digital reality solutions are changing the landscape everywhere you look. 

Scratch the surface of one of the world’s mega-projects and you’ll likely uncover some Hexagon technology. In a world where cities and infrastructure are continuing to expand outward and upward, Hexagon has shaped the future of the global landscape by supporting incredible feats of engineering. Our innovations and technologies assisted in maintaining alignment throughout the construction of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the tallest in the world at 829.8 meters (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories. They’ve also enabled the construction of the world’s longest rail tunnel – the Gotthard Base Tunnel in the Swiss Alps – ensuring the 57-kilometre long tunnel constructed from both sides of the mountain met in the middle with scarcely any room for error (only 8 centimetres or 3.1 inches). Our technologies also ensured the integrity of the Yavus-Sultan-Selim suspension bridge, which links Europe and Asia in Istanbul across its massive 2,164 m (7,100 ft) span. 

Automation and autonomy run deep in manufacturing, where Hexagon’s influence has found its way into things most of us use every day. Our manufacturing solutions touch 95% of all cars produced globally each year, as well as 90% of all aircraft. And of course, there’s the touchpoint that you may be reading this on – 75% of cell phone manufacturing utilises technologies from Hexagon to bring you the latest and most compact features while minimising waste. 

Hexagon’s single greatest defence to risk is putting data to work so our customers can do their greatest work – safely. Our solutions protect over 5 billion rail passengers each year, monitor driver fatigue with AI, help miners avoid truck collisions, and enable police to catch suspects quickly in difficult locations like crowded subway stations. Our sensor/software systems can also warn of avalanches before they happen, predict the probability of catastrophic wildfires and make sure the enemy doesn’t jam or spoof a nation’s missile defence systems. And if you place a 911 call, it’s likely that the first responders on the scene were dispatched by Hexagon’s software.  

From massive building projects to everyday gadgets and critical safety support, our digital reality solutions are making the world a better (and more sustainable) place! 

As you’ve seen from the previous entries in this series, this is only the beginning of the journey toward an autonomous, sustainable future. The last three decades have accelerated the speed of innovation and enabled unheard-of accomplishments, but there is still plenty of story left to be written. As needs change and new technologies create infinitely more data, we are excited to see what the future holds – and we hope you’ll join us on the journey. 

John Gilbert

John Gilbert is a Senior Content Strategist with Hexagon AB in Atlanta, Ga. and is excited to be working at the intersection of brand, marketing, communications and all things digital. John enjoys writing about digital transformation, autonomy, digital reality and sustainability. Before joining Hexagon, John spent 20+ years in global B2B branding, communications and marketing roles; client-side, agency-side and with his own technology business.