The announcement that Google would take part in the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt in 2015 was enough to cause a mega stir. That said, the Web giant’s involvement smoothly fits in with this year’s theme at IAA – “Mobility connects”. Does this mean that the two mobile worlds are embracing each other now? “The two most significant inventions of the 21st century are coming closer together,” is how the heads of Germany’s top automakers – Volkswagen’s Martin Winterkorn, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Harald Krüger, CEO at BMW – have described the trend, which saw them teaming up at eye-level with the IT specialists in Silicon Valley for various alliances.
Mind you, there are reasons for Google’s offensive strategy. The German automakers have long since discovered for themselves the CES Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as a platform to present their production. It is where in January 2015 Mercedes showcased its F 015, the first ever autonomous futuristic research car, whose sleek and uncompromising elegance put Google’s prototypes to shame, evoking comparisons with digital Kinder Surprise eggs. Audi too is no longer willing to trail behind US electric car pioneer Tesla. Before Tesla is in a position to launch its long-awaited Model X as the first electric off-road vehicle, Audi is already busy showcasing its trial car, the e-tron quattro, which is almost ready for series production. Though implementation is still a few years off, the trial illustrates precisely, just like the F 015, that in the race on the (data) highway, the crowning of the ultimate winner is still a long way off.
The International Motor Show runs from 17 to 27 September 2015 in Frankfurt/Main