The Master students participating in the "Strategic Technology and Innovation Management" lecture were able to listen to an exciting guest lecture on the future of the automotive industry by Ralf Lamberti. The former CEO of Brand & IP Management GmbH for Daimler was also member of the Future Technologies department. There, 30 people are conducting extensive data analyses to find out how the automotive industry will change in the future. This is naturally associated with major imponderables. He shared his well-founded forecasts for the automotive sector with the students of WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.
"In the future, cars will fly or at least drive autonomously" - when asked 30 years ago what the mobility of the future will look like, expectations were high. The automotive industry could only partially fulfill this confidence. The development of these technologies, and especially their implementation in the existing infrastructure, will require longer periods of time. Thus, Lamberti assumes that autonomous driving will only gradually come into use in the next ten years. Nevertheless, there are numerous visions among car manufacturers as to how the automotive industry will develop.
In his presentation, the former CEO explained that the rapidly growing conurbations in particular will face the Smart City Challenge in the coming decades. After all, the rampant road traffic that is already paralyzing many of the lifelines of large cities today needs to be converted into sensible mobility. According to Lamberti, for example, logistics could be moved underground, similar to the subway, so that delivery vans do not constantly cause bottlenecks in road traffic. In addition, cities must prepare themselves for challenges such as intelligent parking systems, a nationwide electric charging infrastructure and, finally, autonomous driving. Adapting the structures that have evolved in this way, however, is an enormous hurdle that the automotive industry and politicians in almost all countries are currently tackling.
According to the expert, autonomous driving is likely to be used initially in trucks, which are mostly driving on motorways and only relatively little in dense urban traffic. But the forecasts also predict that cars will soon be able to drive autonomously, but initially within limited areas. By comparison, a self-propelled "smart car" requires the computing power of 1,500 MacBooks. They also need to be able to communicate with their environment at traffic lights or pedestrian crossings. As an added bonus for the driver and to ease the burden of delivery traffic, they could carry small transport robots and their cargo close to their destination. The availability and processing of huge amounts of data is essential to realize this dream. And even if cars will not be flying in the foreseeable future, road traffic will change visibly in the coming years.