solving future mobility is complex
Mats Moberg has worked within Volvo Group for more than three decades and comes most recently from a position as Senior Vice President for Research & Development at Volvo Cars. Today, he is a strategic advisor to Nexer’s automotive vertical, where he shares knowledge and insights about the strategic challenges and opportunities facing the automotive industry.
The rapid technological development where electrification and digitalisation coincide creates a complex situation that requires new skills and working methods and thus new partnerships. Mats Moberg sees a cultural clash between the automotive industry’s often traditional methods of project management and software development versus the need to create innovations that quickly reach the market.
– One of the biggest challenges today is being able to quickly send patches over-the-air that upgrade cars with new customer functionality and protect them from being hacked. But knowing who is driving which car – and with which software – requires digital twins. Key competencies in cyber security and testing are therefore becoming increasingly critical and have also been difficult for the automotive industry to recruit, says Mats Moberg.
The enormous amount of data generated by modern vehicles means that we can increase safety and create smoother traffic flows – not only by giving drivers real-time information, but also by allowing vehicles to communicate and group themselves in an optimal way.
– However, this means that we need to create structures for efficient data exchange between companies and regions, while managing privacy and security requirements. By anonymising data so that it is not personally linked, we can facilitate the exchange and also train the AI models locally in the vehicles.
Digitalisation not only drives the transition to smarter and safer mobility – it also paves the way for increased sustainability such as traceability and management of products and materials. Mats Moberg emphasises the importance of reducing the CO2 footprint throughout the entire product life cycle.
– Materials development is key; we need to develop materials that are both light and strong, and also easy to produce. We can also start building smaller vehicles. So far, we have mainly created products that are comfortable – we build cars that can accommodate 7 people and 150 kg of luggage. But usually, there are only one or at most two people in a car. This is not sustainable.
So how can the automotive industry balance the need for flexibility and innovation while maintaining its resilience to constant change?
– Automotive companies need to create large series with minimal changes to the hardware to keep costs down, as well as innovate and adapt to different customer needs through software development. It’s a balancing act that is no less complicated by the changing demands of customers and the outside world. Just over 20 years ago, Audi created the A2 because they thought we were moving towards electrification. But customers demanded bigger cars instead, so they started producing large SUVs. In recent years, we thought we would solve self-driving cars quite quickly, but we underestimated the technology development and the complicated safety aspects. And now electrification is moving much faster. The most important thing is to be able to respond quickly to the overall trends, concludes Mats Moberg.
NEXER ADVISORY: AUTOMOTIVE
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