Connected mobility: A melting pot of industries destined for success
Connected mobility requires new technologies and a wealth of information, both of which are provided by various players. The results are cross-industry cooperation and promising opportunities for the future.
At Bosch ConnectedWorld 2016 in Berlin, industry leaders provided fascinating insights into the connected mobility market. Presenters from the BMW Group, Divergent 3D, Renault, iconmobile group, SBB Cargo, and Bosch Engineering proved that connected mobility is not a topic for car manufacturers alone. Instead, it involves a wide range of other players – from freight forwarders to electricity providers – who are setting up a dynamic and complex environment.
For automated driving, we need information from outside the car
One aspect of connected mobility involves automated driving. According to Dr. Klaus Kompass, VP Vehicle Safety at the BMW Group, there are six stages:
- no automation
- driver assistance
- partial automation
- conditional automation
- high automation
- and full automation.
At the moment, the automotive industry is very much in the middle of the process, somewhere in between partial automation and conditional automation. Drivers can sit back and let the system do the things they don’t want to, but they are still necessary for some tasks. However, to proceed further towards secure full automation, more information is needed in order to increase security. In pursuit of this goal, BMW takes a 3-step approach: the first is to provide data from the BMW backend to the driver and the car. The second step is to extend this information with external information, for instance from the Bosch IoT Cloud. And the third step will be for vehicles to communicate with each other.
3D printing as an environmentally friendly car production method of the future
A very different perspective on connected mobility was presented by car manufacturer Divergent 3D. Its CEO, Kevin Czinger, is championing an innovative, environmentally friendly production method: 3D printing. In his talk, he bridged the gap between connected mobility and Industry 4.0. If Industry 4.0 is to be successful in the mobility arena, Czinger said, it has to take care of the environment. Observing the complete product lifecycle of a car, i.e. its environmental impact – caused not only by tailpipe emissions, but also by production and manufacturing methods – is key to a successful and environment friendly industry. 3D printing may be the revolutionary approach we need to make cars lighter and reduce manufacturing’s impact on the environment.
Operating with electric cars means dealing with the whole EV ecosystem
As one of the leaders in the electric vehicle (EV) sector, Renault is also deeply involved in connected mobility. According to the company’s Z.E. Quality & Services Director, Dr. Sébastien Albertus, an EV manufacturer that wants to provide solid service has to give its customers access to the public charging infrastructure. For this reason, Renault wants to push the players of the EV market to create a common platform with one interface for the customer. Having such a unified information point would serve to acquire important data on customer behavior. This knowledge is essential for creating additional services in the future, optimizing the charging infrastructure, and improving grid stability.
Customers’ expectations of the transportation industry are changing. Many people are no longer interested in owning a vehicle. Instead, they want to travel distances in the most comfortable and flexible way while having the best user experience possible. This paradigm shift is a topic of great importance for Thomas Fellger, CEO of the iconmobile group. Meeting these new needs requires a single mobility platform that combines all mobility providers and connects all modes of transportation. But to establish such a platform, leaders of the connected mobility industry have to find a way to fit into the market instead of how to lead it. We have to figure out how to cooperate together instead of how to compete.
Strong partners for technological progress
Connected mobility is not just about cars; it’s also an excellent opportunity to improve processes, technologies, and services in related industries. Take a look at the rail industry and the collaborations in this sector: Nicolas Perrin, CEO of the Swiss company SBB Cargo, and Bernhard Bihr, President of Bosch Engineering, are a great example of successful cross-industry cooperation. The tremendous rail logistics competence of SBB Cargo combined with Bosch Engineering’s connectivity know-how from the automotive industry resulted in intelligent freight trains.
All in all, connected mobility is a fast-changing industry with a wide range of different players. Every one of them has their individual focus and their own expectations, so close cooperation is key to success in such a volatile environment.