VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, opening Europe’s biggest high-tech fair, strongly committed the automaker to a future of connected cars and more digitalization across the industry.
In his opening address to the crowds at the CeBIT fair in Hanover, Winterkorn said digital technologies will have a fundamental impact on the mobility of the future. Cars are already “mobile computing centers,” he said, but the new mobility will need to be shaped “in an even more intelligent, more networked way.”
Winterkorn embraced the upside potential of connected cars but also warned for the data-protection issues. “I clearly say yes to big data, yes to greater security and convenience, but no to paternalism and Big Brother,” the head of Europe’s largest automotive group said.
Winterkorn called on the automotive and IT industries, the global business community, governments and research institutions to work together to realize his vision of the mobility of the future. He cited as challenges to connected mobility “the modernization of infrastructure and the clarification of legal aspects.” He urged car firms to join voluntary groups to reassure customers that their driving data would remain private.
Reminding the audience of VW Group’s recent tie-up with Google, with Audi in particular committing to working with the firm on in-car technology based on Android, Winterkorn went on to say that he would like to see collaboration from tech firms in other countries. “It would no doubt be a good thing if German and European IT companies would put themselves forward as partners too.”