Rapid progress is being made worldwide with regard to the vision of automated driving together with the forward-looking ideology of smart mobility and the mega trend of digitalization. Impressive demonstrations of automated and autonomous cars have in many respects already proven that the technology is mature, and are bringing customer-friendly functions such as valet parking and piloted highway driving within reach. At the component level, the performance of the actuators and sensors is continuing to develop; with regard to information technologies, data communication between vehicles and infrastructure combined with high-precision digital maps is paving the way for serial applications in complex environments. Worldwide, driverless cars are expected to achieve commercial viability by 2025.
Current customer studies also show a growth in the acceptance rate – depending on the deployment scenario and individual added value for the customer – which, however, is still strongly shaped by trust in the functional system security of future highly automated driving functions. The global players have long since recognized the complexity and interdisciplinarity: instead of competition, alliances are developing between car manufacturers, suppliers and major IT companies. Professionals from the car industry, information and communication technologies as well as legal experts are working in national and international committees and associations to achieve the political framework conditions and prerequisites for the approval and operation of driverless cars. Political initiatives that are highly committed to investing in the setup of digital test sites for automated driving and a host of new funding programmes are also sending clear signals. In addition to technical innovations and exciting R&D tasks in automotive engineering and artificial intelligence, we are also facing strategic questions, such as homologation capability, functional safety and safety of use, the reliability of dynamic digital maps and data communications and the large-scale operation of the digital infrastructure..
The challenges we are facing can be mastered efficiently by fostering close dialogue among experts..