Latest developments in the field of autonomous driving

Interview with Arnd Zabka, Managing Partner at Zielpuls - Part of Accenture Industry X

TiB: Mr. Zabka, it's nice that you were once again the main sponsor of the VDI ADC. We are pleased that we have finally been able to get back on track after the forced break because of the corona pandemic. We are eager to hear from you what innovations have been made in mobility solutions over the last two years.

Mr. Zabka: Thank you very much. I am very pleased that after a break of two years the VDI Autonomous Driving Challenge could start again and that we were able to welcome it to our premises.

The development of the driving function has made great leaps in the last two years. Mercedes-Benz is leading the way with the Drive Pilot, which enables autonomous driving according to Level 3, was launched on the market. Mercedes is according thus the first manufacturer worldwide, that achieves this milestone. Others will soon follow too. We are thus a big step closer to the goal of fully autonomous driving.

TIB: What are the requirements for OEMs to be sustainable on the market in the long term?

Mr. Zabka: In addition to the development of the actual driving function, the topic of "software-defined vehicles" and the associated new possibilities will move more and more into the foreground.

Will the OEMs and Tier1s succeed in taking the step from an industry that develops mechanics and electronics to one that is software-oriented, and at the same time combine both worlds together? And how does this development change the customer's view? It will be very interesting to see how a multitude of new functions and possibilities will affect customer acceptance. Until now, customers have been used to buying a finished product. For this, they had to decide on their vehicle configuration before purchase. In the future, many functions and also bug fixes will be delivered "over the air" or even purchased later (Function On Demand). Zielpuls as part of the business unit Accenture Industy X sees this as one of the future themes and supports customers in the transformation into a customer-oriented software organization.

TiB: Your team has just published a benchmark study on autonomous driving. How is the current state of development of autonomous driving functions at the OEMs valued at the moment?

Mr. Zabka: Our benchmark study sheds light on the current status of OEMs and their vehicles on the market
based on freely available information and evaluates them on the basis of a number of criteria, such as availability
(partially) autonomous systems, system quality, over-the-air update capability and Competition capability. 

It has been shown that the OEM landscape is currently very heterogeneous and dynamic in terms of future and cooperation capability. The current approaches to finding solutions also vary. I am curious to see how the industry will continue to position itself in order to jointly master the major challenges of the future. 

It remains exciting, we will stay on the topic in any case.

TiB: Thank you very much for the interview.

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