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Wissmann: Connected vehicles are a key component of our mobile future

Hannover, 30 September 2014

CarIT Congress at the IAA Commercial Vehicles

“Cars are reinventing themselves – and are a key component of our mobile future. CarIT provides the foundation for innovations in future generations of vehicles. The German vehicle manufacturers and suppliers are establishing completely new business models in co-operative projects with partners in information technology,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) at today’s carIT Congress in Hannover. A total of 350 decision-makers from the automotive and IT sectors, scientists and politicians met under the slogan “Connected Car – the future of mobility” at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2014. The lectures and keynote speeches focused on topics such as car-to-car communications, e-mobility and IT, infotainment, autonomous driving, intelligent navigation, traffic management and driver assistance systems. The congress was organised by the trade magazine carIT, the VDA and BITKOM.

“The earlier we can get the public excited about the fascinating possibilities of the individual mobility of tomorrow, the quicker innovations will develop into markets,” Wissmann said in his welcoming address. The German automotive industry – manufacturers and suppliers alike – was already in a good position in the field of carIT, he continued. It had invested many billions of euros in this future market and was enhancing its efforts to build a comprehensive new understanding of mobility. “We are forging alliances with IT companies, establishing models for car clubs, and developing alternative propulsion systems with less environmental impact. We need an intensive exchange of ideas and targeted co-operation between ITC providers, energy supply firms and service providers, plus municipalities and investors,” the VDA president explained.

The legislators had to tackle the infrastructural and technical challenges, and create a secure legal framework for all those involved. One of the major challenges, Wissmann said, was harmonising the overall conditions in the European context, and in the global context too. “There is one thing we cannot explain to customers: that after crossing a border, they will no longer be permitted to use familiar functions and features. It must be possible to exchange information in standardised form via defined interfaces. At this point it becomes necessary to join forces and work closely with the national and international policy-makers so that in the future mobility will be safe, comfortable and efficient.”

Prof. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member at Audi AG for Technical Development, underlined in his keynote speech that the important task in the automotive industry now was to shape the future of mobility. He added that powerful driver assistance systems, connected services and car-to-car communication were creating a new connected reality. Piloted driving and parking offered additional benefits in terms of road safety, driving comfort and efficiency.

“The future of carIT lies in connectivity. The ITC industry is instrumental in driving this development forward,” emphasised Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of BITKOM, in his speech entitled “Networks for carIT”. The new vehicle models were computers on wheels. However, their huge computing capacity would be able to achieve its full potential only when connected with other vehicles or backend systems.

In her lecture Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, described the opportunities offered by connected and automated driving. “Greater safety, more comfort, lower emissions – all of this can be realised thanks to modern technologies,” she said. Yet at the same time, she explained, there were some difficult issues to resolve concerning data security and protection, the creation of unified standards and in the law on licensing and traffic rules. Zypries said that the German Government was actively working on this new development. The most important topics were set out in the “Digital Agenda”. Now every possible effort was needed to make the vehicle industry a global leader in digital applications.

“Vehicles are already communication hubs that connect the occupants, the vehicle and the environment. The complete networking of vehicles – the Internet of Cars – enables new customer functions and mobility services,” stressed Elmar Frickenstein, Executive Vice President Electrics/Electronics of the BMW Group, in his presentation.

Dr Michael Gorriz, CIO of Daimler AG, pointed out that the automotive industry was facing its next revolution. “Predictive maintenance, customer-specific mobile services, and service offers in real time will soon be part of normal life due to the analysis of data streams. Large bodies of data on their own, however, are not a sufficient basis for meeting customer needs even better with added-value offers. Total data transparency and confidence in data security have to be given the same priority as using data analytics.”

The whole-day carIT Congress offered more high-calibre speakers, including Oliver Bahns, Global Director Automotive & Aerospace at Hewlett Packard, Sven Gabor Janszky, trend researcher and Director of 2b AHEAD ThinkTanks, Dr Harald Ludanek, Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development of the Scania Group, Fernando Burgos Herce, Vice President New Business & Innovation at Telefonica Germany, and Dr Burkhard Milke, Director Electrical Systems at Adam Opel AG. The carIT Congress finished with an intensive round of discussions.

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