Let experts talk: Connected cars - where does it lead?

Dr. Andreas Tostmann, Executive Vice President of Production at Seat, Guest speaker for Professional MBA Automotive Industry

We are already deep within a digital transformation.  We are always on, constantly checking our smartphones and downloading the latest app, and data dominates our World and is doing it at the same incredible speed at which it is exchanged.  

This has an impact on all life areas and it has defined a new speed for innovation, enabling the emergence of new business models for both new and existing companies and changing the way customer interact with products and the products themselves.

Cars are no exception, and for this reason they have begun a huge digitalizing process, already holding a place among the most complex products within this digital ecosystem. They are no longer only hardware, but also software products. Modern Premium or high-end-cars functionalities require them to have as many lines of code as a drone or some operative systems. This and the current sensor technology allow for the functionalities that we today understand define a connected car, but the ultimate goal are not such features, but complete driverless vehicles.

Today advanced driving assistance systems and basic autonomous driving features are already available. With features such as the ACC, the lane assist or the park assist systems, we were already half way there and today, although there are further levels of automation we still need to bring in the series and finish developing, the technology necessary for autonomous functions is already available.  

Among the challenges that lie ahead, the biggest are not the necessary cost reduction and the needed infrastructure, but the legal and ethics aspects, as well as the customer acceptance. Questions such as, “who makes the decisions?“,  “What happens, when a collision cannot be avoided and the only choice left to make is what will the car collide with ?”, or “A group of pedestrians, or the driver himself?” are already being discussed, and  while most people will agree the right decision would be to always minimize casualties,  not all of them would be  ready to use such cars themselves.

These are all dilemmas we will need to face head-on in the coming years, but, despite them, such vehicles will offer customers new functions for a bigger product experience, and the improvement in safety, environmental impact and infrastructure will support the importance of autonomous driving, making it the future of transportation.  

Dr. Andreas Tostmann, Executive Vice President of Production at Seat
Guest speaker for the Professional MBA Automotive Industry

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