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Research & Innovation

Interview with VW-Digital Manager Johann Jungwirth

When will self-driving cars be ready for the mass market? And what can the traditional carmakers learn from Silicon Valley? We met VW-Digital Manager Johann Jungwirth for an interview.

4 days ago
Source: Volkswagen AG
Source: Volkswagen AG

We're Living the Silicon Valley Culture

Volkswagen's Chief Digital Officer, Johann Jungwirth, on the importance for the car industry of Californian ways of working and the Chinese mentality.

When will self-driving cars be ready for the mass market?

My prediction is that the first fully automatic electric vehicles will be available for mobility on demand as early as the start of the next decade. The year 2021 in the first cities - in the US market, for example. Dubai, Doha and Singapore are other cities where I expect a rapid impulse. The development will be exponential, on a global scale across many regions.

What can the traditional carmakers learn from Silicon Valley?

We have set up new units such as the Future Center and IT labs, plus Digital Units in the group and the brands. We have just opened our innovation campus KONNECT in Tel Aviv, the new global startup hot-spot. We're already living the Silicon Valley culture in these centres of excellence, and we operate using the very latest working methods.

Source: Volkswagen AG
Source: Volkswagen AG

What role does China play in the development of tomorrow's mobility concepts?

In China, both the market and new technologies are developing with breathtaking speed. In our Future Center Asia in Peking, we exploit the Chinese mentality of implementing ideas quickly, and the high speed with which our Chinese customers accept digitalisation. We're very close to the Asian market here, and we can keep our finger on the pulse. If we viewed and developed everything - user experience, interfaces, and the whole range of functions - technically and aesthetically from a European perspective, we couldn't be successful in China in the long run.

Johann Jungwirth is Chief Digital Officer at the Volkswagen Group. He studied Electrical Engineering in Stuttgart and worked for Mercedes-Benz and Apple in Silicon Valley.