Compartmentalization in Times of Technological Upheaval
Knowledge is power; lack of knowledge is impotence. Especially when companies are under extreme pressure to change, as the automotive industry is at present. Advanced technology will be necessary if OEMs are to meet carbon emission limits and e-car quotas, while keeping abreast of the competition on mobility services and managing the hotly debated mobility revolution.
A new idea can arise in the head of a solitary engineer. However, successfully implementing it takes the experience, expertise and know-how of many others – in short, networking. Not only company committees are helpful in promoting this, but also universities and research institutes, association forums or technical periodicals. Though companies love to boast about their "open innovation," this approach is often hindered in practice through resolute approval conditions, fear of too much competitive information or compliance rules. Automotive manufacturers have always maintained a very strict information policy. However, since some top managers were led away in handcuffs, the situation has got worse. Hardly any senior manager can make decisions on his own any more. All approvals are spread over as many shoulders as possible, watered down, moderated. This is just as true of component release procedures and supplier projects as technical publications.
The revenue-generating automotive market is highly competitive, and there is therefore a great deal of fear of competition. But the compartmentalization that is so often derided in practice doesn’t help much with technical developments either. At least the latest technology alliance of BMW and Daimler on autonomous driving gives grounds for hope. For the moment, it remains for us to thank all the authors who have shared their knowledge and expertise in our Automotive Extra from page 8.
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