Car of the future: smart, networked and always online

The automotive industry is facing the biggest upheaval in its history: the digital car is coming, and the vehicle is becoming a highly flexible platform. The foundations were laid in regensburg.

Car of the future: smart, networked and always online

REGENSBURG. By 2035 at the latest, the last combustion engine is expected to come off the production line in the EU. The switch to electric drives is currently the subject of emotional debate and is regarded as one of the greatest challenges facing the automotive industry. Lutz hoppner sees things differently. He looks back on more than 20 years of experience as a manager in the automotive sector, has been head of the automotive business unit of intive gmbh since april and says: "in 2035 we will have a very different understanding of mobility. The type of drive then plays a subordinate role. The car of the future is smart, connected and always online."

hoppner sees digitization as a major challenge in the automotive industry. In addition to autonomous driving, he counts artificial intelligence, virtual development and IT security among the major future trends in mobility. hoppner describes the car of the future as a highly flexible platform that unites all these topics – and much more besides. "excitement, flexibility and personalization options will make the difference in the future. Intelligent systems, modules and apps that can be selected again and again will be what people use to identify with their car."

Software enables the car of tomorrow

carmakers are therefore facing a revolution that goes far beyond the form of the drive: away from the "old" architecture of distributed and hardware-based systems, towards software-oriented and modular solutions. The developers at intive automotive took this revolution into account at an early stage. For 14 years, the company has acted as a partner to market-leading automotive manufacturers at the interface between cars and IT, supporting them in software-related issues of the future. As an international company, intive automotive can draw on a wealth of experience in areas that are largely outside the automotive world – in web and mobile development, embedded software engineering, cloud solutions, and product and UX design. From this unique perspective, intive wants to digitally reshape the traditional automotive world. "thanks to this approach, we are a hidden champion, i am sure of it," says hoppner.

Smart systems, intuitive operation

The combination of digital domain know-how with mobile future topics such as autonomous driving is one of intive automotive’s key strengths, while connectivity and the human machine interface are two others. This is precisely where hoppner sees the great opportunity, because the user-centric handling of networked systems is the decisive differentiating factor in the car of the future – and the development of future-oriented operating concepts is the great strength of intive automotive. "nowadays, everyone is permanently online and heavily dependent on their smartphone. This expectation is also being transferred to mobility. Smart systems that can be operated intuitively make the difference in the car of tomorrow, not the paint job or nice rims."

Reconciling two different worlds

As an automotive software developer, intive automotive works to unite two different worlds: software-based applications are in a constant state of flux and apps are updated almost daily – in contrast, vehicle development takes years. "it’s understandable why development cycles in the automotive industry take so long; but when you consider how quickly the rest of the world is evolving in the same period, they’re no longer up to date," says hoppner. His goal with intive automotive is therefore to quickly transfer technologies that are already state of the art elsewhere to the automotive environment. "in our industry, you’re either fast or you’re left behind; and if you’re accelerating, you need to know where you’re going," said hoppner in april when he was introduced as the new head of intive’s automotive business unit.

New center for software development

A lot has happened since then. intive is currently building a new center for digital software development at the regensburg tech campus: the techsquare. in may 2022, the company plans to move into its new headquarters with space for up to 400 employees. The modern building is located in the immediate vicinity of the universities and established high-tech companies – the ideal breeding ground for the development of innovative future technologies. "we are well prepared to accompany the automotive industry on its path to the future. We will change a lot of things and soon be known far beyond the borders of Bavaria and Germany," says Hoppner.

dreams of the future: what tomorrow’s mobility will offer

In an interview, lutz hoppner, head of the automotive business unit at intive gmbh, talks about the car of the future – and about the role that artificial intelligence, speech recognition and autonomous driving will play then.

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