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Audi Stakeholder Forum 2014

Digitalization and connectivity of vehicles are major topics that are set to profoundly influence and change the face of mobility in the years to come. The discussion at the Audi Stakeholder Forum 2014, held in Berlin at the Representative Office of the State of Baden-Württemberg, focused on these issues.

The theme of the Audi Stakeholder Forum 2014 was “Connected vehicles – how will Audi shape the future of mobility?” The future of mobility was discussed by around 120 participants from industry, science, politics and society, including representatives of Siemens, Greenpeace, the Association of the German Automotive Industry and the Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The composition of the participants provided for animated and constructive debates.

“Communication between vehicles and other vehicles, vehicles and infrastructure or vehicles and the Internet can greatly enhance safety on our roads,” emphasized Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization at AUDI AG. Digitalization and connectivity offer new development opportunities for the future of mobility together with superior quality of life, Strotbek went on to say. He also pointed out the challenges involved with the usage of data.

According to tech blogger Sascha Pallenberg, the car will not disappear from our cities but instead will evolve into a central network node. In his keynote speech, Pallenberg highlighted how global developments are revolutionizing mobility on one hand, while on the other, the car itself can trigger revolutionary developments. He called for a bolder approach to addressing topics such as digitalization and data connectivity, saying that the digitalized vehicle had the potential to become “the next big thing.” The onus to act is not just on the automotive industry, however. Pallenberg sees the car as increasingly becoming a product of connection and exchange between industries and sectors that today still largely work independently of one another.

Over three workshops, the participants and Audi representatives debated the topics of “connected vehicles,” “connected data” and the “connected city” at great length. As far as connected mobility is concerned, the stakeholders see it as crucial that the customer continues to have the final say on how the data is handled: Customers must still be able to decide for themselves what data they wish to use or share in the future. Furthermore, interconnecting vehicles should improve traffic safety. Car manufacturers have a special responsibility here. One of the key results of the discussions was that an increasing degree of connectivity must be accompanied by greater transparency towards both customers and society.

The future of mobility, with all the potential and challenges it holds, is a collective task. The participants agreed that no one sector is capable of solving the mobility problems in our cities on its own. Car manufacturers must take a bolder approach to the topic of “big data” in order to overcome system boundaries and collaborate together on mobility concepts for the future.