Traditionally, the automotive and transport sector is one of the industries that relies most heavily on ICT. Electronic braking assistants, stability programs, and cruise control are standard features in newer vehicles. Many of today’s cars also come with GPS navigator devices and multimedia systems are becoming increasingly prevalent. ICT technologies are also widely used in product development, production control and in customer services. Transport planning is a further field where the use of ICT technologies is becoming more and more important. The experts at the think tank believe that the automotive and transport sector will in future benefit very strongly from the use of new ICT solutions.
“Our research shows that industries like automotive, high tech and retail will experience the greatest shifts in priorities on account of major technology trends.”
Matthias Roggendorf, Associate Partner, McKinsey
The automotive and transport industry occupies a particularly important position in Germany: After the United States, Germany is the country with the second-highest density of cars. As at January 1, 2010, there were 50.2 million cars registered in Germany22, half of which drove an average of 14,000 kilometers per year, adding up to around 700 billion kilometers a year in Germany alone. In addition to privately-owned cars, the transport infrastructure is also heavily burdened by commercial vehicles and European transit traffic. A team of researchers from the University of Stuttgart discovered that the congestion and gridlocks caused by high traffic density in 2001 alone had led to unnecessary fuel consumption of 14 billion liters.23 The European Commission also believes that around 50 percent of fuel consumption is directly caused by traffic disruptions and unfavorable route planning.
What challenges does the industry see itself facing? Nearly one third of ICT executives from the automotive and transport industry (30%) mentions the environmental implications of traffic and transport as the key challenge for the next few years, for example the development of environmentally friendly transport methods or promoting a more economic style of driving. Equally important are the safety aspects of driving. This area covers developments to help avoid accidents or reduce the damage caused by accidents. 19 percent of ICT executives in the automotive and transport industry mention safety issues as the most important challenge. Another equally crucial issue is the avoidance of congestion (named by 19% as the most important challenge). Infrastructure funding (17%) and the maintenance and expansion of the existing infrastructure (15%) are also crucial industry issues. The executives believe that ICT can make a valuable contribution to all of these topics; For instance, one in two ICT executives believes that ICT will play a very important or important role in helping to avoid congestion or identifying solutions for safety challenges (see Figure 7-2).
In detail, two-thirds of ICT executives expressed interest in the idea of sensors that automatically trigger an emergency call in the event of an accident. Consumer interest in these sensors is even greater: 78 percent of the consumers surveyed would like to see safety systems like this installed in vehicles. There was also very great interest, from both consumers and ICT executives, in the idea of intelligent navigation systems, which provide current congestion warnings and provide data from surrounding vehicles, or systems that automatically regulate the distance between vehicles. Equally popular with consumers and ICT executives alike are in-vehicle communication and entertainment solutions: 54 percent of ICT executives and 41 percent of consumers are interested in in-car email access, 51 and 46 percent respectively are interested in Internet-based entertainment services in cars, e.g. passenger entertainment systems (see Figure 7-3).
According to the ICT executives from the automotive sector who participated in the telephone survey, these Internet-based entertainment services will very soon be standard features in vehicles: 64 percent of the executives surveyed believe that these solutions will become standard/mainstream features, possibly within the next five years (see Figure 7-4).
22 Data from the German Federal Office for Motor Vehicles
23 Berner, Fritz / Benz, Thomas (2001)