FAL 2018: Focus on data transparency and blockchain

During the Forum Automobillogistik 2018 on January 31st and February 1st, representatives of the transport and automotive industry debated about topics of digitization, automation, and risk management. The motto of the sixth edition of the event was “Chances by Means of Transparency – Seeing, Understanding, Taking Action”. The event held by the Verband der Automobilindustrie (Automotive Industry Association, VDA) and the Bundesvereinigung Logistik (Federal Logistics Association, BVL). Other topics of discussion were e-mobility and automotive Engineering.

Transparency rather than isolation along the Supply Chain

Opening FAL 18

Opening by Dr. Thomas Wimmer (BVL) and Dr. Joachim Damasky (VDA). © BVL/VDA/Bublitz

„Data are the currency of the future. That also applies to logistics. If used correctly, they generate flexibility and linkage in the supply chain. As a result, transports become more efficient, more cost-effective, and even more attractive to customers” said president of the VDA, Matthias Wissmann. In order to realize these potentials data would need to be exchanged between the companies along the supply chain in a transparent manner.

Unfortunately, implied the tenor at the Forum Automobillogisitk, the willingness of companies to exchange data openly oftentimes still left much to be desired. The reason in many cases can be found in concerns regarding data security and the scope of usage of the information. Isolation, however, was not an option, Frauke Heistermann of the BVL executive board noted on the subject.

Blockchain could ensure security

Info-booths at the Forum Automobillogistik 2018 © BVL/VDA/Bublitz

Much rather the blockchain could contribute to shaping data transfer between companies into a secure and transparent form. The reason: manipulations during the transfer can be ruled out. Another great advantage of blockchain also was, Prof. Boris Düdder of the University of Copenhagen pointed out, that data could be accessed equally by all parties involved in a blockchain.

Before blockchain could be used on a large scale for transferring data, some issues require addressing, Frauke Heistermann reckons. For example she considers the technology not yet ready for large amounts of data, as would inevitably be produced by logistics.

Mid-term, however, as most participants were sure, these difficulties should be a thing of the past. And so nobody contradicted when Xinyi Yang, Innovation Project Manager at Bosch, pointed out: „Keep an eye out for blockchain. It will change the supply chain massively.“

E-Mobility and automotive engineering

Other topics, though, were also in high demand at the Forum Automobillogistik – such as e-mobility. Joachim Damasky, VDA’s Managing Director for Technology and Environment, professed it. However, he pointed out how crucial it was that the energy for the electric cars would be generated from CO2-neutral sources, and not from coal-fired power plants. Supplying the energy demand sustainably was a great challenge in his eyes – especially with a view to the consumption of commercial vehicle fleets for transport of goods.

“#FAL18: Daring more transparency in the #SupplyChain – thanks to the emerging technology #Blockchain. @BVLoffice @VDA_online“

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Comprehensive discussions were also had on autonomous vehicles and driver assistance systems. Matthias Wissmann stressed the opportunities provided by them: The frequency of accidents could be significantly reduced while at the same time optimizing the economic efficiency of transports. „Such innovations require being backed up by politics with a legally watertight framework“ said the president of the VDA. Furthermore he called on the future German government to invest determinedly in traffic routes. Because digitization and automation, Wissmann said, needed an infrastructure at a high level.