Alain Uyttenhoven, Chairman of the Management Board, Toyota Deutschland GmbH

For Toyota, what sounds like an unattainable vision – a mobile world for all, free of emissions and accidents – is a concrete goal.

And the key to this new age of mobility, said Alain Uyttenhoven in his Auto Summit presentation, is Artificial Intelligence. Accordingly, he was accompanied by Kirobo – a small talking robot that communicates via voice and face recognition.
Uyttenhoven believes the auto industry must find new answers for many pressing issues. He sees four major foreground challenges: new customer requirements (sharing, not buying), new technologies, new competitors from the IT industry, and new legal requirements.

To address these topics, Uyttenhoven said Toyota was transforming from a classical car manufacturer to a mobility company. He emphasised his company’s long tradition in thinking about global issues, citing the Toyota Earth Charter, in which Toyota defined zero emissions and zero accidents as goals as early as 1992. Five years later the first Prius appeared – a full-feature family hybrid car that set new standards for efficiency. Uyttenhoven said the Group currently expects its production share for conventional drive systems to fall below 50 percent in ten years at the latest. „In 2030 Toyota will produce 5.5 million electrified vehicles, including one million zero emission vehicles.“

The head of Toyota Germany said his company would connect forward-looking drive technology with digital systems – particularly autonomous driving. „We’re not looking to make drivers redundant or put them on the back seat,” he pointed out. “For us, driving will still have a sensual, emotional component.“ There were three key aspects, he said. First, maximum road safety: Toyota refused to accept millions of deaths, and autonomous technologies could cut that figure to zero. Second, access to mobility for the elderly and disabled too: „In an aging society, the desire for lifelong mobility poses totally new challenges.“ Third, autonomous driving enabled safe communication and Internet use on the move.

Uyttenhoven said universal mobility was particularly important for the global corporation. That meant electric minicars and other micro vehicles, but also robots to assist with day-to-day household chores, care and other tasks. He cited the self-raising wheelchair iBot, which enables paralyzed people to talk to other people at eye level.

The speaker said the 2020 Paralympics and Olympic Games in Tokyo, which his company supports beyond its role as partner, would be a major showcase for trend-setting mobility solutions. „Toyota will show the world the way to a mobile future and provide a hands-on experience.“ Uyttenhoven said Toyota would focus on the Paralympics because the company wants to give handicapped people full mobility. What‘s more, robotics would improve athletes‘ training so they could exploit their potential even more fully. Uyttenhoven said a 5G environment would enable autonomous buses to bring athletes and spectators to the sports facilities. Uyttenhoven is convinced the hydrogen society is becoming “more apparent“ and promises that by 2020, „hydrogen buses will be a normal sight on the streets.“

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.