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‘Building cars around passengers, not drivers’ and ‘Trust me, I am an autonomous car’ were two of the panel sessions at the brand new Shift AUTOMOTIVE, held in Berlin in parallel with IFA, the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. It was a two day festival of global insights and ideas on how new automotive technology will change the way we think, live and drive.

At the start of the event keynote-speaker John Scheonbeck, Director Strategic Partnering at Designworks, a BMW Group company, surprised the audience with his thoughts.

“It will completely change how people look at cars and how people use cars, because in the past a car was something very emotional that was bought and then fully owned and admired. In the future the car will be more like a digital device that you might change more often and of which the emotional factor is not as strong as it was in the past. So yes, I think the use of the car will change.”  

He adds: “It is not many decades away that autonomous driving and connected drive will be provided to the masses, to everyone. We will not talk about cars anymore, but about people movers that function almost as a moving live-style space.”

Karima Delli, the Chairwoman of the Transportation Committee at the European Parliament and the Founder of the European Startup Award for Mobility, in her keynote demanded: “more intelligent public transport.” 

The audience also learnt a lot about cars of today. For example 80% of our vehicles in Europe normally stay in parking areas and only 20% are really driving on the roads. But roads are nevertheless blocked.

In another interesting session, the big insurance companies expressed interest in gaining access to ‘Big Data’. They want to see how drivers are behaving in their cars. For example, are drivers slow and relaxed or are they driving as fast as possible? The first one will get a reduction of their insurance rate in the future.

But what about the public? ”Mobility will undergo an extreme upheaval. But now we need to figure out if and when consumers will be ready for this change,” says Jens Heithecker, the IFA Executive Director. 

The President of the Geneva International Motor Show, Maurice Turrettini, is very much looking forward to the next Shift AUTOMOTIVE in March next year in Switzerland: “When two industries come together to solve a challenge, amazing things can happen!”

We’ll see you all there next year…


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