The user experience, Industry 4.0, Big Data – today's automotive manufacturers certainly have enough buzzwords, and rarely miss an opportunity to showcase their ideas and visions for our automotive future. By now the "connected car" has become a fixture in every marketing and development strategy. "Connecting and integrating cars represents an investment in the future," says Jan Burgard from Berylls consultants in Munich.
At the same time the deployment of IT extends far beyond just the driver's experience. Volkswagen for instance is planning to extensively automate and digitize its own production. Various work tasks, especially physically demanding jobs, are to be taken over by robots, according to Volkswagen CHRO Horst Neumann in a recent interview with Die Welt newspaper.
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Whether it involves the digitization of vehicles themselves or their production processes, companies need to expand their digital skills as quickly as possible. As a result Volkswagen is planning to use CeBIT not simply as in information platform, but also to find the right ideas and locate and take on up-and-coming specialists as quickly as possible. To this end VW will be staging so-called "hackathons" at eight universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland two weeks before opening day of the show. This major programming competition is designed to offer computer science students the opportunity to have an influence on future mobility solutions using their own creativity and imagination.
For two days they will be designing IT solutions during the hackathon, officially dubbed "codeFEST8". There is to be no limit to contestants’ imagination – from the "connected car", new car functions, logistical processes and automation to apps for easier mobility or ideas for intelligent communication.
"We consider CeBIT to be a key IT exhibition,"
"Our codeFEST8 contest is dedicated to fully exploiting the event's potential and driving innovation." From their respective cities the top two teams will make the trip to Hannover, befittingly taking the Nightliner deluxe sleeper bus, to present their ideas there on the Scale11 stage. The winners will receive not only a prize purse worth a total of €17,500, but also the opportunity to develop their ideas jointly with VW. "This competition is geared not only to startups who are seeking potential investors, but also to young college students who are eager to pursue an idea they have," explains Tenfelde-Podehl.
Founders have an additional opportunity to get their money's worth in the form of mentoring by VW: Whoever succeeds in winning over the high-caliber jury with their business model will have an opportunity to have their idea promoted.