Future Mobility: Cars will become smart devices, perfectly tailored to each user's needs.
Volkswagen Group

Digital transformation is here to stay.

Volkswagen Group CDO Johann Jungwirth on the challenges faced by auto manufacturers due to digitization and how VW is driving change at three levels: the customer, the product and the company.
Photo: obs/Auto Bild/Volkswagen AG

The digital transformation of the automotive industry is running on four different tracks: production, product, sales and in-house data administration. Which area do you think offers the greatest profit potential?

We’ve defined three main tiers at Volkswagen: digital customer, digital products and digital company, or “D cubed”. Our activities revolve around the customer, the user and the person. Digital transformation needs to be taken seriously. Some trends are here-today, gone-tomorrow hype. Not digitization, though. It’s here to stay. Digital transformation will disrupt many different industries. And we know from experience that established players don’t always emerge from disruptions as the winners. That’s why we’re proactively driving this change ourselves at every level in order to be one of the winners.
Johann Jungwirth, CDO Volkswagen Group
Johann Jungwirth, CDO Volkswagen Group

Connectivity is an important aspect of digitization. How connected do we have to become in order to see significant improvements in traffic safety? How can we get to the point where all makes of vehicles speak the “same language” worldwide?

We’re not primarily focused on getting the vehicles to speak the same language. The real disruption of the automotive industry is happening simultaneously along three different axes: the transformation from the internal combustion engine to the electric motor; the move from human drivers to selfdriving vehicles; and the shift from owned to shared mobility. We will see the biggest improvement in traffic safety – which could potentially reduce traffic accidents by up to 90 percent – when we introduce safe driverless vehicles.

What’s your mobility vision? What stages do we still have to complete to finally achieve the goal of autonomous driving? Or is that not the real goal?

The real goal and vision is this: mobility for everyone! We have a huge opportunity to democratize mobility and improve social mobility by introducing self-driving vehicles and rolling out sizable shared autonomy fleets across the globe. We can enable sustainable, personal mobility for everyone – even the blind, sick, old, very young or less well-off – and significantly improve their quality of life. And we can reclaim the 38,000 hours of time that the average person spends at the steering wheel. In the future, we’ll be able to read, study, work, relax, play with the kids or enjoy the scenery during the drive.

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