into the future
Intelligent self-learning systems are going to radically change the way we live, work and travel. The technological change will be one of the greatest revolutions in the history of modern civilisation. Baden-Württemberg has founded its “Cyber Valley” research project along with major companies and universities so that it can help shape that revolution.
The “Cyber Valley” research project
Driverless cars, domestic appliances that think for themselves and help around the home, houses that communicate with residents: we are witnessing one of the greatest revolutions in the history of modern civilisation. Intelligent and selflearning systems are steadily conquering all areas of society, driven by the economy and research, which have long been focusing their energies on these intelligent systems. Baden-Württemberg has teamed up with its universities in Stuttgart and Tübingen, the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and some major companies in an alliance of a special nature in order to meet these challenges and take a hand in shaping the digital revolution. They have jointly founded the “Cyber Valley” research project as an international hub for fundamental research and platform for start-ups. As Premier Winfried Kretschmann emphasised at the inauguration event in Stuttgart: “We want to stop the second digital revolution leaving Europe behind.” And goes on to say that the state thus aims to become one of Europe’s leading innovative regions, pioneering the development of intelligent solutions for industry, mobility and medicine.
The joint artificial intelligence research project, initiated by the Max Planck Society and one of the largest of its kind in Europe, includes member companies such as Bosch, Daimler, BMW, Porsche, ZF Friedrichshafen and Facebook. In the upcoming years, they aim to co-develop marketable applications. In the future, these intelligent systems will be able to control cars, domestic appliances, robots and homes and will be operated on a self-learning principle. As part of the project up to 100 PhD candidates trained and several chairs will be established at the Universities Stuttgart and Tübingen in or- der to boost the scientific disciplines. Two chairs each will be set up with state funding, the Daimler and Bosch companies are to additionally fund two foundation chairs. Robert Bosch GmbH will provide funding totalling EUR 5.5 million over a ten-year period. According to the Head of Bosch and physicist Volkmar Denner “Cyber Valley” will attract talented young researchers, software developers and engineers from all over the world. “As Cyber Valley’s industrial partner we hope to make progress both in our established and completely new business fields.” At the same time the region aims to attract start-ups.
The other partners in the research alliance are also investing sums running into tens of millions in the upcoming years. Baden-Württemberg has initially invested EUR 50 million in the alliance, which has already been approved as seed funding in the coalition agreement.
This will be followed by further funding promised Premier Winfried Kretschmann. “We are now on the threshold of what has long been regarded as a vision of the distant future: artificial intelligence is well on the way to becoming our new reality. We are con dent that our Cyber Valley here in Baden-Württemberg will become a hot spot of scientific excellence driven by the best minds of the future in the eld of artificial intelligence”, says Kretschmann. The aim is not only to build the best machines, but also the smartest.
And cars will be among the smartest of them all. Mobility is a mega trend that is here to stay. More traffic on the road, more freight on rails, more containers on ships. In Germany alone, more than 700 thousand million passenger kilometres were clocked up in 2016, for the whole of Europe the figure
almost reached the six billion mark. Overall in EU countries, passenger traffic has increased by a third since 1990. So it is little wonder that many sectors are affected by the dynamism of mobility, and in particular of course, car makers and auto- motive suppliers. Without exception, all major companies are in the process of equipping themselves for imminent digitisation and technological change.
Like sports car builder Porsche, for instance, which recently set up the Porsche Digital Lab in Berlin’s Friedrichhain’s district in order to push ahead with autonomous driving, for instance. In the medium term the company will earn a two-digit percentage of its business with digital services. According to Lutz Meschke, deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors IT of Porsche AG, this is why the Zuffenhausen company aims to invest massively in the Digital Lab. For, says Meschke, autonomous driving is set to revolutionise the efficiency of vehicle usage. “So by the time the age of autonomous driving dawns, we will need to have generated substantial growth potential alongside automotive.” The Digital Lab will figure as a platform for cooperation with high tech companies, start-ups and academia, while also working on specific solutions for the parent company’s digital transformation.
The linchpin of future mobility is the smartphone.
In the wake of digitisation and the age of electric mobility, other industrial giants are embarking on a transformation from traditional car maker to provider of mobility and internet of sorts. There a consensus among experts that the automotive industry will change more dramatically in five years than it has done in the past 50 years. In a recent survey, management consulting firm Roland Berger outlined the direction in which the development might go. According to it, the next decade will be characterised by the advance of robot taxis, putting pressure on car sales, which will no longer be bought, but simply hired per app for the respective journey.
What is artificial intelligence all about?
Cyber Valley focuses on researching and developing artificial intelligence. In this case, systems which are capable of completing the cycle comprising perception, understanding, acting and learning. This is a vital ability for acting autonomously in complex and dynamic environments. In humans and animals this ability goes without saying.
The aim is to learn from the example of nature and grasp underpinning control and steering mechanisms of perception, acting and learning and replicate them in artificial systems.
Where are intelligent systems deployed?
In the future, more or less everywhere, be it in the virtual or real world. Intelligent, self-learning systems will be used both for autonomous driving and in industrial production, to diagnose and treat illnesses, identify new insights from large quantities of data or take care of tasks in situations that are too dangerous for humans, like in rescue operations, for instance.
For some time now, the Stuttgart car maker Daimler has been engaged in developing and building up its digital subsidiary Moovel, a leading mobility platform along these lines. And the linchpin of future mobility is the smart- phone. People will soon be able to book rail tickets via the mobility app, hire electric bikes or car shares or order robot taxis to go from A to B, depending on their needs and traffic situation.
Cycling is a popular pursuit. Cycling is a fast and exible way of getting around, and it saves money and the environment.
On 12.06.1817 in Mannheim, Karl Drais tried out his dandy horse for the first time. His invention sparked the development of the bicycle, the world’s most successful means of transport. In 2017, the bicycle celebrates a round birthday: 200 years. Technology, culture, tradition, history – the bicycle combines many aspects. It unites past and future. And this is because the bicycle reinvents itself all the time. The next stage in its evolution has already been achieved: electrified, automated, networked. The electric bike is one of the most successful electric vehicles worldwide and is a forerunner of mobility in the future. As market leader in the premium segment of electric bike drive systems, Bosch eBike Systems is a prime driver of this development.
Current trends: sporty and high quality
Society at large has embraced electric bikes. They are chic, high quality and have become a feature of modern lifestyles, in which consumers are keen to invest.
At the same time, electric bikes are fast becoming the ideal way to get about town – in view of the growing population in big cities and frequent gridlocks, a logical consequence even. One in two cartrips is shorter than 5 kilometres. A distance that can be easily covered by a pedelec in city traffic, and thus possesses the greatest potential in terms of transport policy.
eBikes as fully edged transport option
The versatility of electric bikes and their various uses are illustrated by a survey conducted by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety: according to it, 20 per cent of the interviewees use their electric bikes only in their free time and on holiday. By contrast, 80 per cent regard their pedelec as a fixture of their daily lives, using it to commute, do shopping and trips. So for many people, electric bikes are a genuine alternative to cars and local public transport. This is also confirmed by a fahrrad.de survey: around a third of interviewees can image using an electric bike for going to work – and leaving the car in the garage at home. 50 per cent would use it to partially substitute a car, 28 per cent for the most part in city traf c. These are clear pointers towards sustainable mobility and brilliant prospects for the electric bicycle sector. Bosch eBike Systems offer technology, a product portfolio and service, thus delivering optimum solutions to meet rising requirements and growing demand.