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Better safety, more comfort and lower emissions with connected driving

Filderstadt/Berlin, 19 March 2015

VDA’s 17th Technical Congress in Filderstadt – Europe‘s most important meeting of experts in the automotive industry

The topics of connectivity, automated driving, electric mobility, vehicle safety, electronics, the environment and energy form the major areas covered by the 17th Technical Congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). With well over 500 participants from business, academia and politics, the Technical Congress, which takes place in Filderstadt on March 19 and 20, 2015, is the most important technology symposium for the automotive industry in Europe. Alongside VDA President Matthias Wissmann and Dr. Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH, numerous other high-ranking representatives from the auto industry will deliver keynote speeches providing insights into the industry’s drive for innovation.

Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, stressed in his lecture: “Efficient, safe and connected: that is how we understand sustainable mobility. In Europe our fleet emissions are already less than 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer. As we move toward emissions-free driving, alongside the highly efficient internal combustion engines and electric vehicles we will have a total of ten new plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2017, all of these making a major contribution to the ongoing reduction of CO2 emissions from our vehicle fleet. In addition, every Mercedes will continue to have the highest level of safety and intelligent networking.”

Joseph Bakaj, Vice President, Product Development, Ford of Europe, presented the “Ford Smart Mobility” in his keynote address – Ford’s plan for applying innovations to move onto the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous driving, customer experience and Big Data. “The automotive industry’s drive for innovation ‘moves’ all of us – it changes the way we think and act, and will ensure sustainable mobility for people and goods in the future,” Bakaj explained.

In his keynote speech, Peter Langen, Head of Driving Dynamics and Driver Assistance at the BMW Group, painted a picture of the future of automated driving for Germany and its industry. The lecture focused on the change that occurs when the driver hands over the task of driving to the vehicle. Langen’s appeal for close cooperation in a partnership between manufacturers, suppliers, politicians and all other stakeholders concentrated on the broad social consensus for entering into this new world of automated driving, with its altered general conditions. His final sentence, “Let’s tackle this together!” made a link with the following discussion and the other specialist lectures.

European Commissioner Günther Oettinger declared in his welcome address: “Standards and rules for the digital future must be set at European level, and we need a cross-border concept for the infrastructure – we are therefore working toward a European digital union. That also applies in particular to the infrastructure that has to be created in order to advance connected and automated driving all over Europe. The VDA’s Technical Congress is an excellent platform for deepening the dialog between industry and politics in this area.”

Rainer Bomba, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, emphasized in his speech the significance of connected driving: “Automated driving is the central element associated with future technologies. Automated and connected driving will have considerable impacts on the traditional image of road traffic. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure explicitly supports developments in the field of automated and connected driving. We are convinced that with sufficient market penetration these systems will be able to make a major contribution to further improving road safety and to environmentally sound driving that is sparing with resources.”

Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, explained in his welcome address: “The sustainable mobility that we are striving for will eliminate the earlier one-sided fixation on cars and road-building, and diversify our modes of travel. We promote alternatives and facilitate the combination of environmentally friendly forms of transport. The cars of the future must be largely climate-neutral – and preferably use electricity from renewable sources.”

Gabriele Dönig-Poppensieker, Mayor of Filderstadt, said as the congress opened, “The tradition and future of business in Filderstadt are strongly tied to the automotive industry. From Wilhelm Maybach, whose forefathers came from our beautiful Sielmingen district, to innovative firms such as Modine, SMK, CSM and many more, we have companies active in the automotive sector. I am delighted that this is being acknowledged beyond our own region, and that we are able to welcome a strategically important congress and its participants to our town.”

The speakers also include Dr. Stefan Jockusch from Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc., Prof. Klaus Mainzer of the TUM (technical University of Munich), Chair of Philosophy and the Theory of Science, and Wolf-Henning Scheider from Robert Bosch GmbH, member of the Board of Management with overall responsibility for the activities of the Automotive Group.

The conference agenda can be downloaded from the internet, at:

Attendance is free of charge for journalists.

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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