Key stakeholders in automotive research and innovation met in Brussels for EUCAR’s annual conference.
Innovation is key to delivering the benefits of cleaner, safer and smarter mobility for society, in the past and even more in the future. The automotive industry is Europe’s biggest private investor in research and innovation; spending more than €50 billion on R&D each year and employing more than 12 million people all over Europe.
The ‘Innovating Mobility: Pushing the boundaries of automotive R&D’ conference was opened by Stefan Deix, EUCAR Director. Deix underlined that the auto industry faces many challenges, but quoted Peter Drucker to point out that “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” This motif of active collaboration was expanded upon by the reception’s key-note speakers: Jack Metthey of the European Commission’s DG for Research & Innovation, and Torbjörn Holmström, Senior Advisor to CEO Technology & Research, at the Volvo Group.
Lively presentations and discussion followed with a range of experts from industry and academia. Urban Wass, EUCAR Chairman 2017, emphasised the importance of the next Framework Programme (FP9), which should focus on the further development of today’s technologies and completely new ones, as “both need to be addressed in tandem.” Research and innovation also need to produce concrete results according to Wass, who highlighted the “need to integrate new technology into vehicles, and vehicles into transport systems, providing numerous opportunities for European industry.”
However, the automotive industry simply cannot do this alone. The continued success of European innovation depends on the close relationship between public and private parties, Wass underlined. Great attention was also paid to international competition, showing that the EU must keep pace with the US and China in the field of automotive R&D. During the high-level panel discussion that followed, speakers agreed on the need for a ‘systems’ approach, stressing that all relevant stakeholders should be involved to achieve even greater results in the future.