Autonomous mobility is set to change the future of driving. However, safety still proves to be the main concern and challenge for mass adoption. The whole autonomous mobility industry needs to come together in a serious effort to set common technical standards, processes and legislation to achieve the highest possible safety.

When we consider autonomous mobility from a broad perspective, it is evident that it is on the brink to paving the way towards a better, more livable and sustainable future. However, there have been accidents involving autonomously driven cars. These raise doubt in the public’s opinion about the safety of autonomous vehicles and prove to be the main challenge for their mass adoption.

No single OEM, Tier 1 or technology company can master the current challenges and associated investment costs in the automotive sector on its own. Moreover, as the autonomous driving landscape becomes more and more diverse and each new participant brings in expertise from different domains, tremendous complexity is created and the way the industry works together is redefined.

Therefore, we have set out to navigate the current changes in the automotive industry by initiating The Autonomous, based on our past, successful experiences in setting up safety references in automotive as well as in other safety-critical industries. We strongly believe that now is the time for the autonomous mobility community to come together in order to define the proper way forward.

Tackling the most prevailing challenge on a global basis requires not only serious effort, but also having all relevant parties included right from the start. Only then can we expect to bring a sustainable safety approach to the highest possible level. Establishing a platform, a space, where all of this can happen is just a first step on this journey.

An increased complexity demands for diverse partners

The complexity in the sector has increased due to the many changes taking the automotive industry by storm and redefining the rules of the game. In addition, many new and very diverse participants are entering the autonomous driving ecosystem and introducing their own view of the challenges ahead.

In today’s autonomous ecosystem, we see OEMs, semiconductor vendors, Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies, technology companies, thought leaders, telco operators, governments, insurance companies, legislators, data and cloud players and many more. Therefore, it was necessary to first map the complete landscape by identifying the major players participating in the ecosystem and their specializations.

So, we aspire to bring together a community that is fully global, open and everybody who can provide a meaningful impact and relevant value is invited.

Dialogue and collaboration are key!

During my 29 years working in the automotive and technology industry, I have been involved in a lot of standardization initiatives together with my team. I know it is crucial to find the right and most effective way to push the topic of setting Global Reference Solutions on safety from different technology and legislation viewpoints. We want to avoid endless discussion groups, which do not arrive at any impactful results. As the topic of safety in automated driving is a really far reaching topic across many domains, we do not claim to know the right way in all fields.

Based on previous initiatives, we know how essential it is to create a platform where we can connect with all the involved companies and stakeholders right from the start. This way we can discuss their thoughts and ideas and find the most effective way to drive the topic forward together.

The Autonomous serves as a platform for open dialogue, where we can collect and anchor the thoughts, ideas and concerns of experts coming from diverse fields in the autonomous driving industry. Based on The Autonomous Event in 2019 and this year’s Chapter Event findings, we will develop a useful model of collaboration to advance in setting up Global Reference Solutions.

The best of both worlds

Every player in the autonomous driving ecosystem, from OEMs to newly entering disruptors, understands the essential role of safety and security and hence they are all assigning the highest priority to these topics and putting them first on their agenda. We see how these companies redefine styles of collaboration and the way solutions are built. The more traditional players are adopting new practices like agile software development, faster loops in designing solutions, with a clear focus on safety, stability and reliability.

The agile disruptors also understand they are entering a safety-critical industry and they are therefore taking over principles associated with traditional OEMs in order to deliver safe and robust solutions while keeping agility on the forefront. This is good, since we have the best of both worlds and it enables us to build future-ready solutions faster and in more cost-effective way.

Solving the safety challenges

When it comes to the point of aligning forces to establish a reference or to establish a standard, these initiatives usually start on the regional level. A good example to illustrate this is the charging plug for electronic vehicles. Today, we can see many different types of charging plugs have evolved across different markets. It started with the first connectors, coming from Japan, then the Tesla connector emerged, later many OEMs aligned on the type 2 connector, while China still has a completely different one.

In order to ease a transition in the industry and for us to deliver these Global Reference Solutions for autonomous mobility in a productive and cost-efficient way, we must first define a common set of principles and standards globally, right from the start. This way we can save money and time as well as reduce risk.

The Autonomous is a joint, multi-disciplinary effort from many involved parties and I am looking forward to seeing how it will evolve and what the next steps in driving the safety topic forward will be.

Join us at The Autonomous Main Event on March 10, 2021 and have your say on the future of autonomous driving!

By Ricky Hudi

The Autonomous Chairman

With over 29 years of experience in the automotive and technology industry, Ricky Hudi acts as Chairman of The Autonomous. Passionate about innovation and the development of autonomous driving technologies, Ricky is a true pioneer in the mobility sector. After holding various roles at BMW AG and AUDI AG he took over in January 2009 as EVP Development Electrical/Electronic AUDI AG. He also founded his own company “FMT – Future Mobility Technologies” and is leveraging a world-wide network of key players in the autonomous driving industry.