Visions: In the future, apps will be more important than PS

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In the future, apps will be more important than PS

Visions: In the future, apps will be more important than PS-apps

The car is becoming a rolling app platform. Experts assume that the shift from hardware – i.e. the car – to software and services will now begin

Source: Getty Images / Science Photo Library RF

Cars drive without a driver, become part of the Internet or are tailored to meet individual customer requirements. What sounds like a dream of the future could soon be real. A new question of power will arise.

F.Before, everything was clear and unambiguous in the automotive industry. The end product, the car, was defined by design, size, comfort, safety, price – and of course horsepower. There were new models about every six years. Alliances were a sensation. Young people still dreamed of having their own car as a status symbol. “Today, customer requirements have changed dramatically,” says car expert Stefan Bratzel.

The supplier Conti is an example of the upheaval: In January it announced that it would be developing high-precision maps with Nokia that could even be used by the autopilot. Conti boss Elmar Degenhart says: “The digitization of the whole of life continues to increase rapidly. It changes both mobility and industrial production. It requires us to be open to completely new solutions. "

There is a lot of movement in the market. Internet giant Google recently bought the Waze navigation app, which users can use to inform each other about the traffic situation. Google itself has long been testing autonomous cars. Billion-dollar industries collide here.

The car is becoming a rolling app platform

"The automobile manufacturers’ business model has changed drastically," attests Bratzel. Vehicle technology topics turned to virtual topics. Conti also works with the network supplier Cisco.

IBM is another Conti partner – both sectors, formerly foreign to each other, are increasingly converging. The credo of Conti boss Degenhart: He believes "that the Internet not only comes into the car, but that the car becomes part of the Internet".

Industry expert Bratzel sees it similarly. “All of this reflects that customers are increasingly moving in a different world.” The car is becoming a rolling app platform. "If you will, the shift from hardware – the car – to software and services is beginning now," says the expert.

But car manufacturers have had little practice in this for a good 100 years. Now things are happening in rapid succession. Recently, Daimler even gave the trend its own brand name: "Mercedes Me".

Road traffic accidents belong in a museum

A whole new world wants to get into the car. Many customers today expect the hands-free system to be able to automatically access the mobile phone directory. Cars should know where to refuel cheaply. You should anticipate traffic jams.

And when the next inspection is due, the car can also suggest dates to the workshop – provided it knows the user’s calendar. If he still has to worry about it, because the driver may already be using car sharing.

Quite a few experts even see autopilot on the autobahn as a reality in the next decade. “We are convinced: Road traffic accidents belong in a museum,” says Degenhart.

Everywhere you look the tenor is similar. Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn recently issued the slogan: “In the next few years, our industry is facing one of the greatest upheavals in the history of the automobile.

People’s expectations of mobility are fundamentally changing. The wishes for one’s own automobile are changing faster and faster. ”The new ideas of the customers even called the well-known model cycles into question.

The power base will shift

Degenhart does not believe that the design basis of cars will soon change its face every three years, but the life expectancy of the digital inner workings is falling noticeably. Retrofitting and upgrading at a rapid pace – that will be the new engine for the industry.

Winterkorn even thinks it is likely "that people are increasingly expecting completely new concepts and body variants from us that we may not even know today". The core of the future of the entire industry is touched, and new answers are needed.

Now the automotive world likes to talk about superlatives and revolution. That was the case with electromobility, for example – and then she fell asleep before driving off. But now a lot is different. Expert Bratzel thinks that the cards will be reshuffled between manufacturers such as VW and suppliers such as Conti. "I think we are already seeing that the power base is shifting in favor of the suppliers."

The manufacturer wants to continue to "keep the steering wheel in hand". But it might be easier for suppliers to enter into partnerships for the new know-how they need. But this freedom also harbors danger. Cooperating also means targeting possible technological paths. “That can prevent things,” warns Bratzel.

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