By T Murrali:
I was at the IAA 2018 show in Hannover recently and it appeared as a hot spot of innovative technologies. You will see details about many of them in the Cover Story of this edition. I was surprised to know that the automotive industry accounted for 40 percent of all new patent registrations from Germany. It is the most innovative of all sectors in the country, filing on an average 10 patents daily. In Hannover it was made known that in three years the German automotive industry will invest around 18 billion euros in automated driving. With the plethora of patents and huge investments, there will be innovations galore. Great times ahead!
Companies today encourage citizen innovations. The innovation laboratory of Daimler AG, the Lab1886, is organising the ‘Lab1886 Design Challenge’ as part of this year’s `new.New Festival’. Lab 1886 aims to proceed faster from an idea to a product or business model. It combines the best of the start-up and corporate worlds. By realising a portfolio of innovations, Lab1886 helps Daimler AG to secure a sustainable and profitable future.
During the three-day challenge, the task of the participants is to use design sprint methods to turn an idea into a marketable business model or product involving aspects such as the blockchain, artificial intelligence or machine learning. In the process they will be professionally coached by Lab1886 experts. The festival is the largest innovation event in southern Germany, and will take place from October 8 to 10, 2018 in Stuttgart’s Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle. The motto for the festival is ‘Intelligence X.0.’ The central topics are Cryptographic Trust, Beyond Reality and Machine Intelligence.
During the festival, 50 start-ups from 15 countries will take part in the CODE n CONTEST to present solutions relating to cyber security, blockchain technology and applications using augmented reality to simplify industrial processes. A jury will decide the winners in the ‘Best Business Model,’ ‘Best Tech Innovation,’ and ‘Industry Disruptor’ categories, and the overall winner.
But why is every other company looking at autonomous vehicles? With more traffic jams, accidents and blocked roads, the Germans think they can be safer with fully automated, driverless trucks on the road. A survey by Bosch and Innofact AG has found this to be true. Driverless trucks are still an unrealised vision. The intelligent technology on board the driverless trucks might prevent most accidents as nine out of ten accidents are due to human error. The survey also highlighted the fact that very few people are willing to do anything themselves to relieve delivery traffic. The survey showed that Germans are highly critical of road freight, both on freeways and in cities. Trucks annoy them. But road freight is set to increase by another 50 percent by 2040 (source: Shell study). That makes it all the more important to prevent accidents and relieve road freight.
The Volvo Group has been continuing its far-reaching drive to develop next-generation transport solutions. The latest examples include a system in which autonomous electric vehicles are coordinated to make efficient goods transport as safe possible, and a new electric compact wheel loader concept. Last month the new goods transport solution was unveiled at the group’s Innovation Summit in Berlin. It consisted of autonomous electric vehicles that are wirelessly connected to a transport control centre. The control centre monitors parameters like each vehicle’s location, load and battery charge, and uses this data to ensure that the overall fleet logistics as well as goods and vehicle flow are reasonably efficient. The system is intended for use within areas characterised by short distances, large cargo volumes and high delivery precision between logistic hubs.
By further developing the advanced technology from Volvo’s electric buses, the group is able to tailor it to suit the electrification of various vehicle categories, such as trucks, construction machines and marine and industrial applications. In parallel, the group has, for many years, conducted in-depth research into autonomous vehicles and presented several examples of self-driving concept vehicles. Volvo hopes that the new goods transport solution can be developed in close cooperation with relevant customers.
At the Innovation Summit in Berlin the Volvo Group also presented its LX2 construction machine, an electric compact wheel loader concept. The second-generation prototype is part of a research project and is not commercially available as yet. The LX2 delivers far lower noise levels, improved efficiency and lower operating costs than its conventional counterparts.