“Mobility is at a historical turning point,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Etienne Schneider in his opening address and referred to disruptive innovations such as autonomous driving, connected services, new mobility offerings and the increase in electrical vehicles.

Luxembourg, this year’s host of Automotive Day, is at the forefront in terms of readiness and infrastructure available for this development. This fact was also highlighted by the President of the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster, François Delé, when he welcomed the participants to the event that was organised by the cluster in collaboration with the Greater Region metacluster Autoregion.

Logistics going digital

Innovation generally means looking beyond one’s everyday context. In order to inspire the participants with insights from a somewhat different field, the organisers had invited Ulf Venne, Director – Business Development at DHL, to give a keynote speech on the digitalisation of logistic supply chains.

Ulf Venne DHL“The digital opportunity is huge,” Mr Venne said. “By 2020, 40% of all generated data will come from connected sensors, there will be 25 billion connected ‘things’ and the worldwide Internet of Things market is expected to have a value of $1.7 trillion. The opportunities to cut maintenance costs by implementing the Internet of Things are enormous.”

In the logistics field, 80% of warehouses are still operated manually and 25% of transportation and logistics companies have no digital strategy. The biggest future impact expected by DHL is therefore the digitalisation of supply chains. “We already use GPS solutions to track high value goods in real time, but this is very expensive,” Mr Vanne explained. The arrival on the market of low-cost sensors whose data can be read by a mobile phone will radically change the game.

They would for example make it possible to find out the exact contents of a pallet of goods by simply putting a smartphone on top of it to capture the necessary data from integrated sensors. This would considerably reduce the paperwork needed to handle deliveries and reduce the costs of handling shipments.

Implementing robotics and automation in logistics is a challenge as short-term contracts with clients mean that the return on investment has to come quickly, but DHL is using collaborative robots to reduce the amount of repetitive tasks that have to be done by humans.

Mr Vanne explained that the company has also successfully set up a supply chain risk management system aiming to make supply chains more resilient by mapping and predicting potential disturbances. The system is based on a mix of machine learning and human monitoring of a multitude of sources including social media and local news. It has proven to be very useful for providing early warnings, thus allowing DHL to take measures to prevent delays and blocked shipments.

Exploring trends

Automotive DayMr Vanne’s speech was followed by parallel sessions giving the participants insights in key trends in the field of the digitalisation of mobility, such as vision and sensing technologies, artificial intelligence, and connectivity and cybersecurity.

Luxembourg start-up Nomoko, which is specialised in building digital 3D models of physical environments, presented its vision for how augmented and virtual reality can improve the user experience for automotive clients and help the auto industry devise mobility solutions that suit a fully digitalised society.

Agora Belgium gave a session on the transformation of the Belgian automotive industry with a particular focus on e-mobility, user experience and smart production. The Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy presented the digital cross-border testbed, a collaboration between France, Germany and Luxembourg providing a technology-neutral site for industry and academia to test innovative technologies on 215 km of road in the three countries. The testbed provides producers of automated vehicles with excellent opportunities for conducting tests in real conditions including frequent crossings of national borders.

Business meets business

The second part of Automotive Day took place at the test tracks of Goodyear and Luxembourg’s Centre de Formation pour Conducteurs (CFC) where the participants could try out a range of the digital solutions currently being implemented by car manufacturers: city emergency braking, automated driving, connected tyres and much more.

A “B2B matchmaking session” organised by the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) provided participants with the opportunity to request face-to-face meetings with each other to discuss future collaboration. 70 meetings were booked that allowed participants to present their expertise and look for business partnerships. A good means to make sure that the cross-border contacts established during the day will continue in the future.

The Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster, managed by Luxinnovation, fosters innovation, business development and cross-sector cooperation by bringing together Luxembourg-based auto industry component suppliers. Are you interested in becoming a member? Apply now for membership!

Luxinnovation contributes to the economic development of Luxembourg by fostering innovation, fuelling international growth and attracting foreign direct investment and is supported by: Ministry of the Economy, Ministry for Higher Education and Research, Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, Luxembourg Chamber of Skilled Crafts and FEDIL – The Voice of Luxembourg’s Industry.