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