Future Tech Day - The 5 Key Takeaways

January 10, 2024

We took part at the Future Tech Day in Berlin, November 16th 2023 and noted five key areas were particularly resonant with the challenges and opportunities in the automotive and mobility sectors:

1. The Role of Start-ups in Automotive Advancements

Start-ups are increasingly playing a pivotal role in driving innovation within the automotive industry, as discussed at the Future Tech Day event. These agile and often technologically advanced entities are at the forefront of research and development in areas such as electric vehicles, autonomous driving technologies, and innovative mobility solutions.

They are not only introducing new ideas and concepts but also significantly speeding up the pace of innovation and adoption in the industry.

Future Tech Day is one of the many events to come that bring start-ups at the forefront of the scene, and most importantly, in contact with potential (big) customers.

2. Electromobilty

A major focus was on the electrification of the automotive industry. Discussions centered around advancing battery technologies, improving charging infrastructure, and the challenges of transitioning from traditional combustion engines to electric vehicles.

The way Germany tackles these challenges can be a source of inspiration: it organizes highly collaborative ecosystems in each region/state. Such Networks are joining their forces and benefit from (state) funding: it gathers local infrastructures, industrials and other public & private actors involved and they have a common roadmap and goals.

The emphasis was on creating more efficient, high-capacity batteries and developing widespread, accessible charging solutions to support the growth of electric vehicles.

3. Sustainability in Tech Manufacturing

The current state-of-the-art in this area involves a multi-faceted approach, addressing everything from the sourcing of eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient production processes to the recyclability and life-cycle management of end products.

Research is heavily focused on reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing facilities through renewable energy sources and optimizing processes for energy efficiency. Additionally, there is a significant push towards reducing the reliance on rare and sometimes conflict-related materials by exploring alternative, more abundant, or synthetic options. Advanced technologies such as AI and IoT are being leveraged for smarter manufacturing, leading to less waste and improved energy management.

It also impacts entire business models as we could witness from the chinese OEM NIO, who developped an ecosystem where the drive can change his/her battery within 3 minutes in a dedicated station. Thus, enabling the exchanged battery to recharge and to be provided to the next driver.

4. Alternative Power Sources: Hydrogen and Atomic Fusion

Hydrogen, with its potential for high energy efficiency and zero emissions at the point of use, is seen as a promising alternative to battery-electric vehicles, especially in heavy-duty and long-range transportation. Research and development in this area are focusing on overcoming challenges related to hydrogen production, storage, and distribution infrastructure.

Big players in the automotive and in the aerospace collaborate: aerospace is stronger in hydrogen wheareas automotive in electric solutions. The idea is to leverage on respective knowledge to accelerate production, use cases and therefore adoption.

On the other hand, atomic fusion, while still in a more nascent stage, presents a groundbreaking approach to clean energy. Fusion energy, derived from the same process that powers the sun, offers the potential for a nearly limitless and sustainable energy source without the high-level radioactive waste associated with current nuclear fission reactors.

Latest research has shown that the process is becoming more and more mastered. We can see this from the ever increasing number of start-ups in this field worldwide.

5. Digitalization in the Automotive Industry

This area highlighted the transformative power of digital technologies in reshaping the automotive sector. Topics included the integration of digital platforms into vehicle design and manufacturing, the use of big data and analytics to enhance customer experiences, and the digitalization of automotive retail and after-sales services. The role of IoT and AI in creating more connected and intelligent vehicles was also a key discussion point.

While a number of companies still struggle with their daily manufacturing performance management and others try to implement complex and sophisticated 3D digital twins in their factories, it is likely that digital transformation will take some time to soak in through to the entire supply chain and bring end-to-end benefits.

So what now?

The event spotlights on the complex interplay between rapid technological advancements and the enduring challenge of optimizing manufacturing performance.

As industries pivot towards electrification, digitalization, and sustainable practices, the questions of integrating these new technologies into existing systems, ensuring efficient and sustainable production, and meeting evolving consumer demands become increasingly pertinent... manufacturing agility.

The transition to electric and alternative power sources, the incorporation of AI and digital technologies, and the shift towards service-based mobility models all represent significant opportunities but also pose substantial challenges in terms of manufacturing complexity, supply chain management, and quality assurance.

Balancing innovation with the practicalities of manufacturing performance requires a nuanced approach. The path forward is as challenging as it is exciting, demanding continuous adaptation and collaboration across the entire automotive and technology ecosystem.

And we are glad Dillygence plays an active part in this transition!

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