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Everything will be connected in the automotive future

The mobility of tomorrow builds on people’s digital worlds. So car manufacturers are using digital services to find new sources of income. A look at a future in which car manufacturers have reinvented themselves through digital business models. As mobility providers.

03/14/2019 Story: Georg Dahm – Illustrations: Eva Revolver Talking Business Reading Time: 5 min

Forecast of the worldwide stock of connected cars

The worldwide stock of connected cars is expected to triple by 2023 to 342.6 million. 1

There is always room for improvement. Engineers from around the world are competing to develop the best possible car. Now the rules of the game are changing and car manufacturers are questioning the way they have always defined themselves. They are thinking beyond cars as a product and focusing on the digital world of the customer, worlds in which mobility is naturally integrated. The best possible user experience is what is required: Customers want to book, use and manage digital services as conveniently as possible. For that reason, mobility is being tailored to the touchpoints of a changed customer journey.

Sounds pretty abstract, right? The following three scenarios offer you a look at a future in which car manufacturers have reinvented themselves through lucrative digital business models. As mobility providers.

On their way to Grandma’s: The computer recognizes the best route and plans convenient charging stops.

Amelie: Daddy, when will we be at Grandma’s?

Vincent: Soon. Is your audiobook boring?

Amelie: It’s really weird. Joe, the man in the book, is walking all over town looking for his car. It’s so stupid. Cars come to us, don’t they?!

Vincent:
It must be an old book. Things used to be different. Today we are pleased that we have the autonomous school bus to pick you and Hanna up at home in the morning and take you to school.

Onboard computer: We can offer you an optimized route in the automatic lane. The average speed of the cars in the lane that you are merging onto is 80 kilometers per hour. You will save energy by using the slipstream. If you stay in the manual lane, this route will cost you an additional five percent in your rate category.

Vincent: Does the route include the same recharging stops that were calculated before?

Onboard computer: You have a calculated stop at the Charge & Ride station in Frankfurt and a minimal charging time of 15 minutes for your route. Your pre-booked charging time is two hours, which includes a shuttle to the city center for your restaurant reservation. Payments are made through the default settings in the app.

Vincent: Then merge onto the automatic lane.

Hanna: Does Grandma still drive herself?

Vincent: Not as much as before. At first she refused to drive autonomously. She said she’d gone 40 years without having a single accident and she didn’t need it. But since the first time we watched her favorite show together while we were traveling, she’s been a big fan.

Hanna: Movies in the car? Where Grandma lives? I thought there didn’t use to be any Internet reception out there!

Vincent: Well, they added the lane for electric trucks to the highway, so they put in a power grid and set up cell towers. But you two need to be quiet for a moment, I have to call your mother. Alexa, call Ada Zobel.

Onboard computer: Calling Ada Zobel.

The car drives itself: Autonomous driving allows passengers to use their car as a mobile office.

Ada: Alexa, accept incoming call. Hey, Señor, how are you? Just so you know, I have you on speaker.

Vincent: No problem, I have to behave myself anyway – the kids are in the car.

Amelie: Mommy, Mommy. We’re almost at Grandma’s!

Ada: Hey, that’s right, that’s today! Are you all doing okay? Did you pick up the car from the shop?

Vincent: No, we’re still using the replacement car. The mechanic and I had a video call this morning and he showed me something on the battery he wants to look at again. The shop found a discrepancy in our driving data. Once the car’s repaired, they’ll deliver it. Too bad, actually. I really like this loaner. But never mind that – are you coming home tomorrow? I saw on our customer account that you rented a just-in-time car in Madrid.

Ada: Yeah, Stephen and I have to visit the client. Luckily we were able to rent a self-driving car at the airport and are driving the whole way fully autonomously. So we can finalize the presentation now and sleep a couple of hours on the way back to the airport.

Vincent: That’s fantastic – that’s a good use of your time. Stephen, how’s everything your end?

Stefan: Things are great! What’s the problem with your car? Don’t you have the SUV anymore?

Vincent: No. Last time, the Sales Advisor came over with his tablet and said: ‘We looked at your driving profile and the shuttles and vacations you’ve booked – why are you driving around with so much storage space that you don’t need?’

Ada: They gave us two weeks to test the car. The new one is much more compact. I like it. That makes it a lot easier to find a parking spot in the app.

Vincent: Speaking of parking spots. We have another 52 minutes and I’d like to arrive with a finished presentation.

Ada: Sorry, you’re right. Enjoy the rest of the trip! By the way, is Hanna with you? She hasn’t said anything yet.

Vincent: Our teenager is in the back on her smartphone – which is naturally much more important! She’s probably on your daughter Nina’s channel, Stephen. She seems to be really successful as an influencer.

Always online: The car of the future fits seamlessly into people’s digital worlds.

Nina: Look, my dad shared my story again. He’s really great.

Fred: Does he do it for you or for the cars?

Nina: For me, naturally. Otherwise he would have never gone to the showroom. But I had just promoted it downtown: ‘Virtual-reality driving – better than the real thing.’

Fred: And what did he think?

Nina: First he couldn’t stop grumbling: ‘Are you crazy? Buy a car I’ve never driven?’ Then he tried out the VR headset in the showroom – and he loved it. But I was really surprised that he actually picked out his next car there.

Fred: Is he generally a catalog kind of guy?

Nina: Totally. He took home huge piles of them and made a science out of reading them all.

Fred: But he still has his own car?

Nina: Yeah – he’ll never switch to on-demand completely. But when he drives his own car, he’s really glad there aren’t any trucks blocking the fast lane on the highway, since they now all automatically drive behind each other in one lane. And he’s always booking extra services through his app that he used to say were ‘total junk!’

Fred: What does he consider ‘junk’?

Nina: He thought watching 4D movies in the car was unnecessary – that is until the first time he drove autonomously and got bored. And he treated himself to the traffic lane assistant for the serpentine roads through the Alps – and then just kept using the service. Oh, and don’t get me started on the navigation system ...!

Fred: But that’s standard!

Nina: Yeah, but a navigation system that learns, one that plans not just the charging stops on your route, but also stops in restaurants and cafés that meet your personal preferences – that’s something he never dreamed of. It really is a whole new level of navigation ...

Fred: Say, do you even know how to navigate your own way around? I bet you can’t without autopilot!

Nina: Oh yeah? You’re on! Let’s settle this here and now! We’ll let the likes decide which one of us is the better driver.

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