In­ter­view: PETER SCH WAR ZEN BAUER& klaus frÖh li ch

Dig­i­tal busi­ness and R&D lead­ers at BMW re­veal what’s cook­ing in Mu­nich’s tech labs

Car India - - CONTENTS - In­ter­viewed by: Tim Pol­lard

We speak with BMW’s dig­i­tal and R&D big­wigs

Klaus Fröh­lich (KF): We al­ready have 11 mil­lion con­nected BMW Group cars out there to­day. We are aim­ing for 100 mil­lion by 2025.

Peter Sch­warzen­bauer (PS): I don’t be­lieve we are ready to jump straight to Level 5 au­tonomous driv­ing. This will not hap­pen overnight. We will do it step by step, to get peo­ple used to it — and win their trust. Even if the tech­nol­ogy is there, it will take peo­ple time to adapt. We know that.

KF: Car own­er­ship is chang­ing fast and we want BMW to be there whether peo­ple want to own their car out­right or rent from a mem­ber­ship club. Some peo­ple won’t mind shar­ing their car; oth­ers will.

PS: Se­cu­rity and pri­vacy will be our first pri­or­ity with con­nected cars, busi­ness will be sec­ond. We will lose our pre­mium cus­tomers if we go too far.

KF: The cur­rent dis­cus­sion about stolen [Face­book] data shows that peo­ple are be­com­ing more and more aware. Pri­vacy will be very im­por­tant in con­nected cars.

PS: We see ri­vals such as Daim­ler as ‘fren­e­mies’. We com­pete as car mak­ers, but if you look at what both com­pa­nies are try­ing to achieve in places like China and Amer­ica, it feels right for us to work to­gether in this new mo­bil­ity mar­ket. We will achieve more to­gether.

KF: Video con­fer­enc­ing will be­come very pop­u­lar in cars and 5G will help us de­liver these con­nected ser­vices. But we will sac­ri­fice qual­ity for safety — the car will slice band­width from a video or voice call and pri­or­i­tize emer­gency data if it af­fects your safety or that of oth­ers around you.

PS: The fu­ture is col­lab­o­ra­tive. Why would we build our own mu­sic ser­vices, when we can part­ner with spe­cial­ists like Spo­tify? That’s why we have built a scal­able cloud plat­form that links to our se­cure back end.

KF: When Level 3 au­tonomous cars be­come more com­mon you will be on the mo­tor­way with your fam­ily and it will be more like a liv­ing room. We are work­ing on a very re­laxed seat­ing po­si­tion. We call it In­te­ri­ors Of The Fu­ture and you will see more next year.

PS: We have learned a lot about car shar­ing with our pi­lot stud­ies. We’ve had to close some of our car clubs, like in San Fran­cisco. The city was not ready to give us more car park­ing spa­ces — and if peo­ple have to walk eight or nine min­utes, they won’t bother. They will only walk two to three min­utes to col­lect a shared car. We have to fit around hu­man be­hav­iours.

( Left) Sch­warzen­bauer leads cus­tomer en­gage­ment and dig­i­tal busi­ness in­no­va­tion; Frölich is boss of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. Smart guys

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