The future is built on concrete: Stuttgart's Kulturbetrieb Wagenhallen reminds us of Germany's engineering heritage. It features high ceilings with large gates and solid grey concrete floors. A place where the past has long since been transformed into the future, where an industrial factory has been transformed into a modern event hall. This is where start-ups from all over the world presented their ideas for the future of mobility last Thursday.
But Expo Day 7, which is part of the largest open innovation platform in Europe, Startup Autobahn, is much more than just a place for visions and ideas. The platform brings together young start-ups from the tech and mobility scene with established companies such as Porsche, Bosch, the DHL Group or ZF Friedrichshafen AG. The goal: to jointly evaluate and drive forward intelligent and progressive solutions for the future of mobility - as sustainable and smart as possible. "We are here to listen. And to learn. We know that we cannot shape the sporty mobility of the future on our own," says Dr. Jochen Breckner, Vice President General Secretariat and Business Development, Porsche AG. "At the same time, we bring more than 70 years of successful sports car tradition to the table and offer young companies a platform for growth."
Young start-ups meet traditional companies
Porsche has been a partner of Startup Autobahn since 2017, with a Taycan in the hall on this day. The Porsche of the future is an all-electric car - and completely intelligently connected. The Taycan not only represents something like change today: it combines the history of Porsche Design classics with the technologies and drive systems of tomorrow.
Numerous young entrepreneurs, investors and partners have gathered around the first all-electric sports car from Porsche. Among them are existing partners from the Porsche ecosystem such as the blockchain start-up Gapless from Berlin as well as new faces: the weather technology platform Clima Cell, moving sensor technology from InMotion Labs or innovative upcycling solutions from Natural Fiber Welding.
Startup Autobahn forms an interface between industry leaders and young technology companies. At the heart of each six-month program, enterprise partners work with start-ups to test technologies and achieve a common goal: a production-ready implementation. "The successful cooperation of the last few years has prompted us to extend our partnership with Startup Autobahn for another three years", Breckner continued.
Shaping the future together: Porsche x Way Ahead
Since 2016 Startup Autobahn powered by Plug and Play TC has worked with more than 220 start-ups on over 320 pilot projects in the areas of Mobility Production and Enterprise. The cooperation between Porsche and the start-up Way Ahead Technologies shows how both sides can learn from each other and grow together.
The Swiss start-up presents a Head-Up Display project at Expo Day 7. Way Ahead tracks, maps and visualizes journeys in real time and in 3D using ordinary 2D cameras. The technology transforms data into a 3D environment and also allows high-precision playback for interactive analysis.
Forward-looking routes and technologies in the gaming sector
The partnership between the 3D experts from Zurich and Porsche came about as part of the Porsche NEXT OI Competition, an in-house innovation competition held together with High Mobility. Now Way Ahead has emerged from this, further projects will follow. "Applications for collaboration include novel navigation scenarios that can be optimized in terms of safety and danger zones or predictive route and lane guidance," says Dominik Stocker, co-founder of Way Ahead Technologies AG. "In addition, the technology can be used in the gaming sector, where real driving data is used to enhance the gaming experience". The cooperation of the two companies from the Porsche NEXT OI Competition is the next logical step in the evaluation phase.
This example proves: Startup Autobahn is not a typical start-up accelerator, but offers an entire ecosystem for successful cooperation, which fits seamlessly into the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer's program of working with young companies and laying all the foundations for the future.