VW, SAP, Shell team up for Israeli connected car solution

Three multinationals see a cloud-linked vehicle as the solution to drivers’ frustrations, and the tech is being developed in Israel

Illustrative: A Google self-driving connected car. (Courtesy)
Illustrative: A Google self-driving connected car. (Courtesy)

The future of driving is the connected car, and last week, German cars-maker Volkswagen announced that it was teaming up with oil producer Shell and software giant SAP Technologies to help build that future – courtesy of the SAP’s Israel office. SAP is supplying the software and network connectedness component of the technology — which is being developed in SAP’s Ra’anana offices.

According to SAP, driving would be a lot more fun if some of the more prevalent frustrations involved – like knowing where to look for parking, automatically opening gates at tollbooths and garages when you approach (instead of having to fumble around for tokens or tickets), or even helping families figure out the best and most fun places to take the kids.

“Connected” has become a major buzzword in the automobile industry, as manufacturers seek new features to distinguish their brands, and to provide additional safety measures. The ultimate in connected cars is the Google car, which, if and when perfected, will “drive” itself, with the vehicle receiving all its instructions about where to go, what route to take, and where to park without human interaction.

Originally, SAP, Volkswagen, and Shell teamed up to search for ways to help drivers avoid those problems by using connected cloud technology based on SAP’s HANA Cloud Platform. After further discussion, the three companies came up with an even better idea – to help drivers order lunch, get a free cup of coffee, or find other interesting offers on the road, in addition to having an easier time finding parking, and so on.

Eventually, for example, SAP’s connected car system could use location-based services to see where a driver is parked and automatically send out offers for local restaurants and shops – via the vehicle itself, which would be connected to the cloud via a 4G cell-network and GPS chip. In addition, the system would determine what offers there were on the way, in case a driver wanted to stop off for a snack.

It all amounts to a new and unique sales platform for drivers, opening up a new category of merchandising that was unavailable before, said Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, head of Electric and Electronic Development of Volkswagen. “The successful cross-industry pilot project demonstrates potential implementations of future mobility concepts and their utility and convenience for our customers. Customer feedback on this pilot project is important to us as it helps us consider how to increase the use of mobility concepts in the future.

Israeli technology is central to the project.

“SAP’s multiyear co-innovation with Volkswagen is planned to address the everyday inefficiencies city drivers face around the world,” said Gil Perez, senior vice president, Connected Vehicles, SAP.

“Our collaboration with Volkswagen intends to deliver a delightful user experience and accelerate the standardization of such services across the industry. It is a great showcase for the power of SAP HANA Cloud Platform to simplify daily complexity,” he added.

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