Andrea Rexer, Head of Companies and Markets, Handelsblatt, talks to Handelsblatt foreign correspondents
Sha Hua, Asia
Martin Kölling, Japan
Britta Weddeling, Silicon Valley

With new competitors disrupting the mobility market, alternative propulsion systems being pushed to varying extents in different regions of the world and intercontinental trade restrictions looming, it pays more than ever to take a look at the bigger picture.

At the summit, three Handelsblatt correspondents provided insights into mobility discussions around the world.

Sha Hua reported from China on a major pilot project for connected driving. In Wuxi City, intelligent cars communicate with the traffic infrastructure and even pedestrians. In exemplary fashion, the government was attracting as many participants as possible – including China Mobile and Audi – to the table, and giving them the ‘playground’ they needed. The expert for China said it was a pity no German manufacturer could roadtest this technology in Europe.

Britta Weddeling from California’s Silicon Valley shared a surprising insight: Although autonomous driving is fascinating, it’s surprising how quickly it gets boring when drivers are downgraded to passengers. Stimulating interior designs could help to compensate for that. During an autonomous test drive, for example, she was able to follow what the car ‘sees’ on a display. Another smart idea was the button that lets passengers request stops en route. Weddeling said Silicon Valley’s autonomous vehicles pulled out all the stops to gain the confidence of their passengers. To build production-ready vehicles, it was essential for IT giants to cooperate with established carmakers.

The notion that the Japanese are lagging behind Germany’s premium manufacturers is a dangerous fallacy, warns Japan correspondent Martin Kölling. He said the Japanese were focussing on the mass market, where „they’re rolling out autonomous driving even in small cars.“ The 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be a milestone event, with the government encouraging the industry to showcase state-of-the-art autonomous driving in the city. The country led the way in its preparations for autonomous driving; the government was investing heavily in the X2X infrastructure.

Automotive Summit 2018 – Executive Summary

In early December 2018, over 600 automotive experts from all over the world – including manufacturers and suppliers, tech and energy companies, politicians and associations – attended the auto industry summit in Wolfsburg, Germany. From 3 – 5 December, the industry’s big hitters discussed strategies, concepts and technologies for tomorrow’s automobiles and the future course of their industry.

We’ve compiled the highlights from the Handelsblatt Auto Summit 2018 in an interactive follow-up report.