Autonomous mobility has been taken to a “game-changing” level with a mobility concept that creates new business opportunities for operators through its own ecosystem, according to EDAG.
The EDAG Group, an independent engineering service provider for the global automotive industry, won the Best of Best prize in the Future Mobility category of the Automotive Brand Contest of the German Design Council in September 2019. The prize was for the EDAG CityBot concept car, a networked robot-powered vehicle which, with its numerous trailer and backpack modules, is capable of handling any transport and work situation in urban areas, and is also in motion 24/7. “EDAG is supplying an intelligent statement on sustainable, holistic mobility, traffic planning, ground- breaking city development and new business cases,” says Johannes Barckmann, EDAG’s Global Design Manager. In conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT) and the digital micro payment solutions of EDAG partner IOTA, the EDAG CityBot offers not only new autonomous transport and working vehicles, but also new business models for their operators.
This is what essentially sets the EDAG CityBot apart from other known autonomous vehicle concepts for the city of the future. “The EDAG CityBot ecosystem is a fully integrated concept for the city of the future. To bring it about, EDAG has bundled all the engineering competencies of its core divisions: Vehicle Engineering, Electrics/Electronics and Product Solutions in a unique way. The implementation of the EDAG CityBot creates the basis for a completely new interpretation of inner-city mobility. Not as a science fiction fantasy, but as a system that is actually feasible and at the same time economically viable,” he says. In the EDAG CityBot ecosystem, human-machine interaction (HMI) stands for the user-oriented analysis and modelling of application contexts, principles, methods and tools for the design of interactive, networked systems relating to the CityBot. The company’s engineers are among the pioneers of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The general system architecture involves the use of various electronic sensors and actuators. During environment sensing, the particular focus is on radar, lidar and camera sensing devices. “With the CityBot ecosystem EDAG creates the corresponding connectivity architecture, the functional integration and the entire validation chain for online services in the vehicle and in the associated digital ecosystem.
To this end, EDAG‘s Connectivity & UX program puts the central engineering focus on the end-to-end validation of the complex, continuously developing connectivity functions of vehicles. With EDAG positioned at the interface between the vehicle data acquired and the digital services derived from it, the elementary conditions for the realization of the CityBots were created,” says EDAG. The EDAG Group is celebrating 50 years of its existence this year. The company serves leading domestic and international vehicle OEMs and sophisticated automotive suppliers through a global network of about 60 sites in major automotive centers of the world.
The EUR 800 million EDAG offers complementary engineering services across its Vehicle Engineering, Electrics/Electronics and Production Solutions businesses. The company can support clients across the entire value chain from the original design idea to product development and prototype construction all the way to the delivery of turnkey production systems.
Since 1994, the company has also been present in the USA with its subsidiary in Detroit and since 2013 in Belmont, California. As a technology and innovation leader, EDAG also operates established centers of excellence that design landmark technologies for future applications in the automotive industry: lightweight construction, electric mobility, digitalization, integral safety and new production technologies. “Our customers are currently facing a multitude of challenges,” says Cosimo De Carlo, CEO of the EDAG Group. “On the one hand, rapid technological change requires high investments in research and development. On the other hand, declining passenger car sales figures are leading to lower inflows of funds. In this challenging market situation, EDAG with its flexible and innovative concepts ensures high efficiency and profitability in development projects. As a solution-oriented development partner, we can optimally support our customers in shaping the mobility of the future.”
Automotive Industries (AI) asked De Carlo what the strategy is behind the conceptualization and execution of EDAG’s CityBot concept car.
De Carlo: In our opinion, the traffic of the future is a logistical challenge: We dream of mobility just like our blood circulation: no traffic lights, no traffic jams, it is a constant, steady flow. The transportation can be individual or collective, but is always controlled. Mobility can only be solved with the combination of digitalization and autonomous driving. Because only focusing on alternative drives and autonomous vehicles is not the solution. In traffic jams on chronically overloaded roads, the type of drive you have makes no difference whatsoever. Our idea is, to combine the different types of traffic, to increase the efficiency of vehicles. That means in the end, less vehicles are needed. If we sum the different kinds of traffic every day, we get a total utilization of a modular system.
AI: How does the CityBot tie in with EDAG’s work in smart mobility?
De Carlo: At EDAG we rethink and redesign mobility every day: globally and holistically, and always with the objective to make the mobility of tomorrow a bit better. For this, we combine German engineering with a high degree of innovation and perception for future topics. Our holistic understanding of product and production is our biggest key success factor.
AI: Tell us about EDAG’s journey over the past halfcentury in offering latest engineering breakthroughs to the automotive industry?
De Carlo: A simple idea and a deep conviction marked the beginnings of EDAG in 1969: to apply the art of engineering to make cars and production facilities better and better. Since then the company has developed into one of the world’s largest independent engineering service providers in the automotive industry, and an active creator of future mobility. Always with the same mind-set: future orientation, adaptability and a fully integrated approach. “Tomorrow now” is not only the title of the video we produced this year for our 50th anniversary, it describes the self-image of the EDAG Group perfectly.
AI: How do you predict the future of mobility to take shape?
De Carlo: It is impossible to predict what the automobile world will look like in the future. The only thing that is certain is that there will be dramatic changes. But I am quite sure that EDAG will play a very important role in this transformation and that, with our ideas and historical experience, we will set the decisive course. That’s why I am not worried about what lies ahead. On the contrary, I am looking forward to it. These are exciting times that invite us to continue to make history.
AI: What kind of ADAS and E-mobility technologies in EDAG’s portfolio are you particularly upbeat about?
De Carlo: For sure, our holistic approach to Cloud-based ADAS/AD development via data acquisition, management and utilization.
AI: What is your strategy to develop your business in the US?
De Carlo: We strongly believe in the US market and its potential in shaping the future of the automotive Industry. EDAG employs about 240 people in the US today. We expect significant growth especially in the implementation of digital Industry 4.0 factory operations, where we have a strong background coming from our experience in Europe. The combination of our local and global know-how, as well as our ability to engineer a complete vehicle launch, from product engineering through complete manufacturing lines are and remain our USP in the North American market.