Digitalization in the Automobile Industry - Our expert Matthias Schubert informs you
Digitalization and new drive concepts are radically changing mobility, to an extent seldom seen before. How can we prepare for this change? We discussed it with Matthias Schubert, who has been leading our global Mobility Business Stream since April 1.
Mr. Schubert, how will autonomous driving actually come about?
There are several steps to achieving highly automated driving. One has already been taken: assistance systems such as parking aids and partially autonomous driving using lane-keeping assistants. But highly automated driving still lies ahead of us; it would require vehicles to communicate not only with one another, but also with the infrastructure. That will take a while to achieve. The mobility of the future will be data-driven. Right now, we need to establish access to this data and make intelligent systems based on it.
The Internet of Things is opening up entirely new possibilities as far as this is concerned. In the future, monitoring that is currently periodic and physical could be made permanent and digital/electronic. Naturally, that will affect our business – not today, not in five years, but potentially in fifteen years.Matthias Schubert
What will that entail?
We are already familiar with the basic technologies that will enable this, but we still do not know how we should equip the infrastructure, design the data platforms, and ensure security, reliability, and data integrity. Our employees, including the members of our Smart Mobility project team, are seeking answers to these questions.
Can you name a few specific projects?
For example, we are overseeing a test field for autonomous driving on a German autobahn together with our colleagues from ICT & Business Solutions. However, autonomous driving is definitely not the force pushing a revolution in vehicle monitoring.
The Internet of Things is opening up entirely new possibilities as far as this is concerned. In the future, monitoring that is currently periodic and physical could be made permanent and digital/electronic. Naturally, that will affect our business – not today, not in five years, but potentially in fifteen years.
So the cars could actually inspect themselves?
Vehicles already do that today to a certain extent, and the scope of these activities will expand. But who will monitor the monitoring to ensure that it is going smoothly? Where will the data go? We could have a say in how these things develop. In Germany, we have already established initial access to data with the HU Adapter. It is not perfect, but it represents an important step. By the way, certain types of physical inspection cannot be replaced by intelligent vehicle sensors.
What future trends are in store for the Rail Business Field?
We are following new drive concepts in rail-related mobility , such as fuel cell drives for trams and the Hyperloop, which is a new high-speed transportation system. Expanding infrastructure is a huge topic. We are advising our rail industry customers around the world to implement increasingly complex projects.
Matthias Schubert is certain that he will witness autonomous driving within his lifetime. And he’s already looking forward to it – not least because it will dramatically reduce accident rates. The 43-year-old with a doctorate in economics came to TÜV Rheinland from the workshop chain Euromaster in September 2015. Schubert finds open communication important. He is married with three children.
How important is cooperation with other Business Streams?
It is already hugely important, and will become even more so through digitalization, because that affects every sector. Due to that, we need to pool our expertise and services at TÜV Rheinland in order to provide customers with answers. We are working closely with our colleagues in ICT, as well as with the Products division regarding connectivity in cars, and with Industrial Services in the Rail Business Field.
What do you think are the greatest strengths of the Business Stream?
Our employees. They’re extremely well educated and excited about the work that they do. Another highly valuable asset is our direct access to end users, which other mo-bility service providers envy. Having this access represents a real strength for our brand. We also work together with globally operating companies and are familiar with the kinds of developments they are currently pursuing in the automotive and rail sectors.