VW and Volvo CEOs talk connected and automated mobility (CAM) at the FT’s Future of the Car Summit 2022.

Next gen mobility will be transformational like smartphones predicts new Volvo CEO Rowan

Connected and automated mobility (CAM) featured prominently on the first morning of the four-day Future of the Car Summit 2022, hosted by Financial Times Live.

The online-only first day (Monday 9 May), ahead of in-person and digital events tomorrow and Wednesday, included big name vehicle manufacturer speakers – Volkswagen Group CEO, Herbert Diess, and Volvo Cars CEO, Jim Rowan.

Future mobility

Diess targeted an 10-12% market share in the US and reiterated that he sees VW as a tech company not a car company.

VW's Herbert Diess at the launch of the first BP Flexpole EV fast charger
VW’s Herbert Diess at the launch of the first BP Flexpole EV fast charger

On connectivity, he described modern cars as “most advanced devices on the internet”, saying: “Up until now, you do the hardware, electronics, software, you do the launch and then you don’t touch it anymore.

“Now, you continuously work on the systems in the car to deliver more functionality. In autonomous driving, the car becomes a learning device. You have to upgrade the software over time, you have to take all this responsibility.”

He also predicted it could take years for self-driving cars to master extreme weather.

Like feature phones to smartphones

Next up was new Volvo Cars CEO, Jim Rowan. Formerly of Dyson and BlackBerry, he likened the current state of play in the automotive industry to that of the telecoms industry as it moved from feature phones to smartphones.

Volvo Cars CEO, Jim Rowan, 2022
Volvo Cars CEO, Jim Rowan, 2022

“The smartphone enriched that product to a level that no one had really envisaged, and how much more that became a part of everyday life was transformational,” he said.

“The same thing is going to happen in the auto industry, or in the next generation mobility industry as I prefer to call it. What we’ll be able to do with next gen mobility is going to be tremendously different from what we currently do with cars.

“I think you’ll see great technology being used across every car going forward. We’re actually seeing that right now, and that’s only going to accelerate.

“Remember, the next generation that we need to bring into the car market is Gen Z, digital natives born into a digital world. They expect connectivity, they expect services to be available seamlessly between their car, home and phone. It’s not a wow factor to them.”

Connected and automated mobility

There followed a panel discussion on “Revolutionising the in-vehicle experience and turning it into a recurring revenue stream”, with TJ Fox, Senior Vice President of Industrial IoT and Automotive at Verizon Business, Gianmarco Brunetti, Head of Commercial Transformation at Jaguar Land Rover, and recent Cars of the Future interviewee, Inma Martinez, from the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI).

Fox focused on the infrastructure – network quality and reliability across all use cases, especially for “mission critical” applications.

“Vehicles will be constantly updated to continually get better than they were the day they came off the production line, and 5G will be underpinning that moving forward,” he said.

While Brunetti focused on the customer experiences. “I expect that in the future we will be mainly focusing on two things,” he said.

“First, how we can be of more service to the customer, how we can make their day-to-day experience better; and second, how can we leverage technology to make our operations better and more efficient.”

Martinez set out GPAI’s aim, as a partnership of 25 OECD nations, to ensure that artificial intelligence becomes “a tool for good, and progress and welfare”.

Inma Martinez of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI)
Inma Martinez of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI)

“At the moment, data is basically just for safety,” she said. “In the very near future, it will be used to make cars really smart – evolving, self-learning AI – gathering data from the exterior to create situational awareness.

“Safety was always the biggest goal that governments imposed on the sector, now it is CO2 emissions, but traditionally it was safety. The auto industry is very close to the space and the aerospace industries – the aim is zero errors, pure perfection.”

It was a great start to the event, and we look forward to the headline act tomorrow evening, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed for a live hour-long interview.

Cars of the Future editor Neil Kennett interviewed Sir Stirling Moss OBE in 2011.

Video: Stirling Moss calls Tony Brooks “best driver the public haven’t heard of”

As avid Cars of the Future readers know, we occasionally like to look back to the glory days of motoring in a series we call… Cars of the Past. Well, today is one of those days.

Following yesterday’s sad news of the passing of F1 racer Tony Brooks, at the age of 90, we thought it appropriate to share this short clip of Sir Stirling Moss OBE talking in glowing terms about his former Vanwall teammate:

Sir Stirling Moss OBE talks in glowing terms about former teammate Tony Brooks

Sir Stirling Moss OBE said: “The best driver the public haven’t heard of in my mind was Tony Brooks. Tony was as good as nearly anybody, and he could do sports cars and Grand Prix cars. Fangio was not very good on sports cars – I mean, I could beat him in sports cars, but in Formula One he was the tops.”

New car tech

Carsofthefuture.co.uk editor Neil Kennett conducted the interview at Moss’s house in Mayfair, London, in 2011.

“I remember we recorded it the day after Vettel secured his second F1 title,” he said. “Further into the interview Sir Stirling talks about how racing helps to develop new automotive technologies, such as energy recovery systems. He and Tony Brooks were both racing legends.”

Frequently referred to as the greatest driver never to win the F1 World Championship, Sir Stirling Moss died in April 2020.

Tony Brooks won six Grand Prix, finishing second in the World Drivers’ Championship in 1959 with Ferrari. He died on 3 May 2022.