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How Volkswagen & CARIAD transform automotive mobility

The Volkswagen Group is one of the leading manufacturers of automobiles and commercial vehicles worldwide and the largest automobile producer in Europe. CARIAD is an independent automotive software company within the Volkswagen Group with currently around 4,500 employees. A lot of know-how, which is also required, since it is about transforming one of the largest hardware companies into a software company and realizing high goals such as automated driving up to level 4 and raising German software development to a new level.

Jan Zawadzki, Head of Artificial Intelligence at CARIAD, has often been on stage at the DATA festival, both onsite and online. Since 2021, he is a committee member. In an interview with DATA festival founder Alexander Thamm, he talks about how CARIAD transforms mobility as well as about his personal challenges and his goals to enable not only the company, but also Europe to benefit from AI.

„We have the chance with automotive software to become a greater industry leading standard and compete with other players. But we have to embrace the change. It starts on the culture and mindset level embracing software as a generator of profit not just as an expense pool and making sure that we can generate value with software“, Jan tells in the interview.

He further explains: „The company is excellent in producing products and hardware now we have to make the shift to software. And AI is even the next step of software development. Laying the foundation to create value with AI in the future is what keeps me up at night. We are going to have the largest data collection fleets in the world. We are going to have 40 Million connected vehicles by 2030. I personally don’t know all the awesome use cases that we can create with all the data, but we need to be prepared and have the capabilities to flexibly implement those challenges. So we’re taking the challenge head on.“

Watch the interview here:


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Overview of the questions Alex asks Jan:

  • Turning one of the largest hardware companies into a software company – where do you start, how do you tackle the challenge?
  • Your company became the first volume manufacturer to offer over the air updates. Where do you see similarities in producing cars in a high volume and software development? Are there similarities in managing processes? What could be a strategic advantage in the future that a pure software company would not have?
  • 40 million cars are still less than the number of people that use mobile phones. Are you thinking about this?
  • Where do you see the company CARIAD going? Why should someone become an employee at CARIAD?
  • I love your vision, I love that you are a young leader in the field and how you tackle the challenge. What is it that you are really doing and what are your technical challenges?
  • It’s a huge benefit if the AI can optimize the route when you’re driving an electric car in terms of what speed you can go, where the charging stations are free, the traffic and so on. Are you also working on that?
  • What relevance has Quantum Computing in your organization?

In September 2021 we streamed the DATA festival #online from our studio in Würzburg, supported by our committee members. We took the chance to have a personal talk with some of them on actual Data, Analytics & AI topics and their actual challenges according to these.

Die DATA Party geht weiter!
Das DATA festival #online kommt am 19. und 20. November zurück!
Zwei Tage lang dreht sich wieder alles um die nutzbringende Anwendung von Daten & künstlicher Intelligenz und wie wir damit unsere digitale Zukunft gestalten können. Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos.

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