ŠKODA has formally announced the establishment of a new innovation centre – ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China – to be based in Beijing. The centre is another achievement under Strategy 2025 and will help transform the brand from a traditional car manufacturer into a “Simply Clever Company for the best mobility solutions”. ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China will focus on future mobility, digitisation and connectivity, and new business models. The centre will also be the brand’s platform to collaborate with the local startup community on future mobility.
ŠKODA AUTO CEO, Bernhard Maier, said, “Our two DigiLabs are now firmly established in the start-up community both in Prague and in Tel Aviv. China is one of the world’s drivers of innovation when it comes to digitalisation. It’s therefore only logical for us to now develop the next spin-off – ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China – to gain direct access to important future technologies there too.”
ŠKODA China President Dr. Ralf Hanschen said: “ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China will play a pivotal role in strengthening our innovation and development capabilities. We have made digitisation and digital mobility services the cornerstones of our future development, and this new innovation centre brings our digital business and next-generation mobility solutions and services into the market. As the newest member of a growing global innovation network, DigiLab China will create future mobility solutions and services of all kinds – not just in China for China, but also for Europe and the rest of the world.”
The first DigiLab was established two years ago in Prague and was quickly joined by a second DigiLab in the IT hotspot of Tel Aviv. Since then, these centres have greatly strengthened the brand’s innovation and digital development expertise. As the central development workshop for new digital solutions, services and technologies, the labs run like an IT startup – agile, free of hierarchies and open.
With China being a global trend-shaper for mobility, innovation and connectivity, as well as ŠKODA’s largest single market, ŠKODA has been actively engaging the innovation community behind the scenes. Now, following this announcement, ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China has become the brand’s primary platform for cooperating with top local startups and creative talents, to develop new digital and mobility solutions.
Although only formally announced yesterday, ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China’s work has been underway since last year. As a result, several exciting projects are in the pipeline for 2019, including a new In-Car Delivery Service previewed at ŠKODA Day. The meteoric rise of e-commerce in China has created huge growth potential for In-Car Delivery Service. The team at ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China is now actively working to make this service available to existing and future ŠKODA customers and is in close contact with potential delivery service partners to launch testing and pilot projects.
Another project under development is the CareDriver mobility startup. Research on Chinese consumers shows a gap in non-emergency and mild emergency mobility. Private hospitals are also seeking ways to enhance the patient experience by expanding into pre-arrival mobility. CareDriver’s business model features specially-trained drivers using a ŠKODA KODIAQ or SUPERB to provide door-to-door services. Patients can use the time to register and queue virtually en-route, saving them time and stress upon arrival at the hospital.
Two weeks ago, ŠKODA China also concluded its first-ever Clever Mobility Solutions for a Better Life Hackathon event in China. Held in Beijing with innovation platform and startup incubator Innoway, the two-day event drew 88 participants to compete in different categories of future mobility services. ŠKODA is advancing its strategic goals through its partnership with Innoway, which is located in the heart of Beijing’s “Silicon Valley”, Zhongguancun, adjacent to some of the nation’s most prestigious universities.
Globally, the existing DigiLabs have put the focus on topics including: the shared economy, mobility services, digitalisation, connectivity, electromobility and autonomous driving. No size is too big or too small: projects range from developing new solutions to optimise traffic flow through cooperative transport systems; to vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity for smart fleets of vehicles; to micromobility solutions enabling users to comfortably make the last mile of their journey in urban settings.
Moving forward, ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China will cooperate closely with existing joint venture partner SAIC VOLKSWAGEN, the DigiLabs in Prague and Israel, and other Volkswagen Group
ŠKODA China President Dr. Ralf Hanschen has formally announced the establishment of a new innovation centre – ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab China.
The centre is another achievement under Strategy 2025 and will help transform the brand from a traditional car manufacturer into a ‘Simply Clever Company for the best mobility solutions’.
One of the projects under development is the CareDriver mobility startup.