You have to be fast to win
Europe needs to pick up the pace. This can be said of many things, among them automated and connected driving. According to EU plans, a unified legal regulatory structure for this topic should exist by 2019, if possible. In other areas of the world, such as in the USA, Singapore, and China, the first cars are already driving in various stages of autonomy, explained Volkswagen Head of Digitization Johann Jungwirth at th 20th Annual International Congress of the Automotive Industry at the end of October in Zwickau. As he sees it, Europe runs the risk of being left behind if it maintains the present pace.
There is scarcely a reason to hesitate from a technical standpoint. According to a study by Roland Berger and the Aachen University Institute for Motor Vehicles, German premium manufacturers currently have a leading role in the development and safeguarding of highly automated vehicle functions. More and more Saxon skills are coming into play here, making a significant contribution to new intelligent, efficient, and safe mobility solutions with their specific expertise. Some of these are presented in this edition.
Nevertheless, it still requires a major effort for the mostly smaller supplier companies to handle this transformation in the industry, which is momentous in terms of its speed and complexity. The Saxony Automotive Supplier Network (AMZ) and the Chemnitz Automotive Institute (CATI), in a study commissioned by the Saxon Ministry for Economic Affairs, looked at where exactly the risks and, principally, the opportunities lie. Based on the facts analyzed, the often-feared negative scenario loses its punch. The opportunities resulting from the new value-creation potential of alternative drives, lightweight construction, and electrics/electronics are enormous. First and foremost, the companies can – and must – recognize and seize these opportunities. It is incumbent upon policymakers to work with industry associations and networks to create the proper framework conditions. Here too, speed is of the essence.