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EETE DEC 2015

Automotive Daimler: a carmaker goes digital By Christoph Hammerschmidt In the automotive industry, a race has started towards digitisation – of products, manufacturing and engineering processes. Carmaker Daimler provided EETimes Europe a glimpse on how it drives forward this process in its software development department in Bangalore, India. Under the onrush of the wave of digitisation with potential new competitors like Tesla, Google and, probably soon, Apple, the traditional automotive industry is undergoing a profound change. Deeply rooted in its mechanics tradition, this industry which used to derive its identity from mechanical notions such as dualclutch transmissions, scrub radius or roll stability, is now about to integrate the digital lifestyle into their genes. German carmaker Daimler AG is no exception. Actually the company has ambitious intentions. “Besides our core business, we are developing ourselves to a mobility provider who actively will shape the digital future”, sets Markus Haegele, Senior Manager Corporate Strategy in charge of the DigitalLife@Daimler program. Like other automotive OEMs across the world, Daimler has already digitized its design and development processes. The same holds true for manufacturing. For the German automotive Manu Saale, CEO of MBRDI sees Daimler at eye level with the Silicon Valley industry, an additional factor has led to a particularly high degree of digitisation: since their vehicles are typically available in extraordinarily high numbers of variants, and buyers of Audi, BMW and the like can chose from more options than those of US and Japan-made vehicles, the capabilities of these companies in terms of systems integration are somewhat more elaborated than those of others. The same holds true for their manufacturing flexibility; after all, the concept “industry 4.0” – the application of IoT principles to manufacturing – is not least driven by the German automotive industry. In this industry, globalisation and digitisation are going hand in hand. But while almost all competitors are just developing regional versions of their vehicles and manufacture them locally, Daimler goes one step farther as it has also globalised its software development. Most of its software - corporate and manufacturing software as well as real-time embedded software for vehicle control systems – is developed at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development India (MBRDI), a wholly owned subsidiary located in Bangalore, India. Due to the presence of a many local and international high-tech enterprises such as Cisco, HP, IBM, Infosys, SAP, Tata Consultancies or Wipro, the city is said to be India’s counterpart to the Silicon Valley. Establishing such an activity in India is more than the result of a price consideration, assures Wilko Andreas Stark, Head of Daimler Strategy, a position that reports directly to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. Instead, it is part of the company’s globalisation Not outsourcing, but global distribution: A large part of Daimler’s software for cars, corporate and production is developed at Mercedes-Benz R&D India. 10 Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE DEC 2015
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