BMW - the importance of electronics
November 12, 2002

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Where is progress, and with it the future, forged? If recent decades have seen mainly mechanical innovations generating headlines and progress in the mobile world. these days some 90 per cent of all innovations relating to the car are driven by electronics.

The value-added share of top-ranging cars is up to 40 per cent and rising. "The future of the car will be increasingly marked by a shift from hardware towards software," stresses BMW Board Member G–schel. That is why the targeted management of innovations is taking on an ever-more crucial role in securing a company's long-term success.

It is also why the BMW Group runs a dedicated VIA (Virtual Innovations Agency) portal for the Internet. This allows businesses and universities to contact the BMW Group online with their own innovative projects. The statistics speak for themselves: over 18 months, more than 1,000 proposals have been submitted. Some ideas have led to concrete development projects and will be marketed.

The rising value-added share of auto electronics is bringing corresponding volumes of business in its wake. Global telematics sales up to 2010, for instance are estimated by a well-known consultancy company at some 50 billion euros annually. During the same period. figures for electronics sales in vehicle manufacturing as a whole are forecast at more than 100 billion euros per annum. That comes as no surprise considering that the scope and complexity of modern software systems doubles approximately every 18 months.

Driven by the vision of "congestion free driving"
What ultimately lies behind the concerted implementation of electronics in the areas of telematics and traffic management is the vision of "congestion-free driving". Through the application of the ConnectedDrive concept, the aim is to free our roads of traffic jams. Translating such visions into reality demands agile structures within the enterprise that promote networked thinking.

Adaptability and connectivity as a basic prerequisite for future success. Adaptability and connectivity i.e."breathing" structures, are fundamental requirements for the success of automotive development in the future. It is essential to ensure a rapid time to market for innovations. The challenge is to bring together the most diverse disciplines, manage interfaces and unite them in an agile network. That is why the BMW Group has for many years been operating a global development and research network. At its core is the Research & Innovation Centre In Munich. Experts working for the Munich-based mobility enterprise are stationed in the worldís key technology centres - in Europe as weIl as Japan and the West Coast of the US. The insights gleaned there are channelled into a centralised knowledge system and made available to all associates at any time and in any part of the world. This promotes the implementation of new ideas coupled with networked thinking.




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