“Car IT, the connected vehicle, is – alongside electric mobility – the major innovative focus of this IAA. The exciting innovations can be seen in impressive displays at almost all the stands of manufacturers and suppliers here at the IAA. The German automotive industry is deeply committed to consistently driving forward the digital revolution both in and around the car. Future cars will be able to relieve the driver of even more burdens, through highly automated driving functions. They will also support drivers in critical situations, or even avoid such situations altogether. This will make driving even safer,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He was speaking at the IAA congress entitled “Mobility 3.0 – the car of the future is connected,” which was organised jointly by the VDA, Bitkom and the trade magazine carIT, and was a great attraction – with over 400 participants.
“Connecting vehicles brings drivers not only more comfort, but also improves road safety in particular. Full penetration by car-to-x functions would save the national economy over 11 billion euro every year,” Wissmann said. Experts assume that in the future up to 80 per cent of all new cars sold will be connected. “Cars and smartphones no longer exclude each other, but have become two sides of the same coin: ‘always on,’ even in the car – that will fundamentally change the driving experience,” the VDA president underlined.
“The IAA shows that the German automotive industry leads in connecting vehicles – owing to its major investments in research and development. In particular the online services surrounding mobile communication are becoming more and more important. Our companies are aiming to expand this position,” Wissmann emphasised. And Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of Bitkom, stressed the potentials of car IT. The car of the future would be connected, he said, and motorists would use their cars as communication platforms.
Dr Bernhard Blättel, Director Project Mobility Services at BMW i, explained the overall “BMW i” concept, which encompasses not only products but also many services for urban mobility. The BMW Group was “the leading provider of premium products and premium services for urban mobility,” Blättel emphasised. He added that BMW was offering mobility services that were tied to the vehicle (ChargeNow and Connected Drive), vehicle-related mobility services (ParkNow, DriveNow and AlphaCity) and vehicle-independent ones (Life360, Embark and MyCityWay). For example, “Parkatmyhouse.com” was an online market place that brought those seeking and those offering private parking spaces together. “ParkNow” turned the stressful and time-consuming search for a parking place in inner city areas into child’s play as there is a guaranteed parking spot at a guaranteed price, for which users pay a monthly fee – online, of course.
Peter Häussermann, Director Electrical/Electronics Telematics at Daimler, gave a presentation on “MyMercedes: the connected vehicle.” For the “digital natives,” the mobile Internet generation, smartphones were destined to become the “digital co-pilot,” and being “always on” the world was experienced “as a permanent community.” The expectations of these customers were being driven by the rapidly developing field of consumer electronics. “The most important aspect is that the devices should be simple to use,” Häussermann underlined. The future would bring growing integration of smartphones and embedded systems. “We are taking cars into the Internet,” Häussermann stated. He used “Moovel” as an example to describe connected services and intermodal travel. Using “MyMercedes,” drivers would obtain all the relevant information on their smartphones: “That is the central ‘cockpit’ for individualisation and personalisation,” he said. For instance, after two months drivers would automatically receive a message on their smartphone saying it was time to pay the next leasing instalment. After a certain period they would be reminded to check the tyre pressure, and of course would be prompted to make the first appointment for a service. “It makes no difference whether you are physically in your car connected to the Internet, are ‘always on’ in your vehicle, or are using the virtual cockpit – the car is omnipresent,” Häussermann emphasised.
Caspar Dirk Hohage, head of the development division at Ford-Werke GmbH, spoke about “The democratisation of the connected car.” Smartphones were the “central hub” of modern communication. In 2013 around 1 billion smartphones will be sold, he said, and by 2017 the market will have grown by 50 per cent. The number of apps downloaded in 2013 was 80 billion and would already rise to around 300 billion by 2016. Hohage spoke of the “democratisation of mobility” and illustrated this with a historical advertisement for the Ford Motor Company: “Opening the highways to all mankind” it says, and depicts a farmer and his wife and children on a hill looking down longingly to a busy car-filled street. “Today the important thing is democratising the connected vehicle,” Hohage stated. Ford Sync meant “greater safety and greater comfort” for all Ford customers. Using innovative voice control, he continued, the principle of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” still applied. The platform had become established and in the USA there were already 4 million vehicles equipped with Ford Sync, and in Europe the figure will be around 3.5 million units by 2015. Music streaming from the Internet was one of its features, just like the online search for a parking space.
Dr Dirk Hoheisel, Member of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH, gave a talk on “Connectivity for safe and comfortable driving.” Using the “cloud” in particular would bring about considerable progress in safety, comfort and fuel efficiency in the car and in road traffic. “In the vehicle of the future, the cloud will be a major part of the vehicle architecture,” Hoheisel explained, and added that Bosch was consistently pursuing the path to automated driving by continually expanding driver assistance systems.
The other speakers included Axel Schmidt, Managing Director Automotive, Accenture; Gustavo Filip, Head of Automotive OEM, Hewlett Packard GmbH; Thomas Stottan, CEO of Audio Mobil Elektronik; and Dr Thomas M. Müller, Vice President E/E Volvo Car Corporation.