IAA review: An industry on the road to change

There was much talk, writing and discussion about this year’s IAA. There were lively and excited debates about a necessary change of the trade fair format as well as the entire industry. Blickfeld was on site with two booths. We would like to share our firsthand experience: here’s our impression.

One major novelty at this year’s IAA, was the New Mobility World (NMW) Conference, a three-day conference within the framework of the trade fair in which speakers from a wide variety of companies and organizations discussed current mobility topics. Both, the speakers and the dominant topics of the conference show that the mobility industry is changing. Ola Källenius, the new chairman of Daimler, joined Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, on stage, and names such as Qualcomm and Facebook were among the sponsors of the conference – this clearly shows that the IAA no longer only belongs to car manufacturers and suppliers. Topics such as connectivity, mobility-as-a-service and autonomous vehicles are gaining importance with more and more IT companies, start-ups and providers of new mobility presenting at booths and podiums.

The industry is looking at new and alternative mobility concepts. While the OEMs focused on electromobility at their booths, Tier 1 suppliers often designed their IAA presence around autonomous applications. One of these suppliers was Webasto, who unveiled their new “Roof Sensor Module”. The module is designed to smoothly integrate sensors in autonomous vehicles without bulky constructions on the roof of the cars. The module is capable to include the Blickfeld Cube, which is why Blickfeld sensors could not only to be found at the company’s own booths, but also at the Webasto booth.

The shift in the industry is important and necessary, as demonstrated by the protesters on the doorstep of the IAA. The industry will have to reorient to some extent. In the long term, autonomous driving will contribute to reducing vehicle emissions worldwide – the importance of this development was accentuated by Waymo CEO John Krafcik opening the show together with Angela Merkel. The Google sister Waymo drives many thousands of testing miles autonomously in California every month and is regarded a pioneer among the manufacturers of autonomous vehicles.

In the NMW exhibition area, Blickfeld was in good company: Start-ups in the fields of HD mapping, ultrasonic sensor technology, connected car, shared mobility, smart charging and many more were exhibiting. Here, too, there was a clear focus on autonomous driving.

The future of autonomous driving was further discussed by Blickfeld founder, Dr. Florian Petit, with his lecture on when self-driving will be the new normal on the NMW Conference stage. Florian took a critical look at the status quo in the areas of technology as well as legislation and customer acceptance of autonomous applications and gave an outlook on the developments of the upcoming years.