Berlin (dpa) - The German auto industry wants to ensure and improve networking across entire supply chains with partners from neighboring industries.
The “Catena-X” initiative aims to increase security of supply through more data exchange, process recalls more quickly and monitor compliance with climate protection rules.
In addition, the network offers great opportunities to advance digitization in production ("Industry 4.0") and the development of autonomous driving, said Daimler boss Ola Källenius on Tuesday at an online event of the Federal Ministry of Economics and the automotive industry association VDA.
"Catena-X" is the extension of an existing industry alliance.
In addition to Mercedes-Benz, the current members include BMW, Bosch, Schaeffler, ZF, Deutsche Telekom, SAP, Siemens, BASF, Henkel and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as well as smaller companies.
The aim is to standardize the open transmission of digital information for overarching topics - also with upstream stages at suppliers or downstream in retail.
Volkswagen stated that it was open to further cooperation, but that a possible direct participation in “Catena-X” had not yet been decided.
"We have to avoid a proliferation of dozens of different networks," said BMW boss Oliver Zipse.
"It would be a huge effort if we didn't get together."
In addition, interfaces could be used to set up the European cloud and data infrastructure Gaia-X - VW is also involved here.
The industry also wants to include smaller companies in the data chains.
Zipse named testing the sustainability of supply chains as a use case.
The automotive industry is currently struggling with serious bottlenecks in semiconductors and other important electronic components.
A supply chain law is also intended to ensure the granting of social, environmental and human rights standards internationally.
According to the BMW boss, the “recall capability” of cars also depends on the ability to network with one another.
Källenius also said: “It would not make sense for every company to develop its own standard.
To say now that we want to set an industry standard is the right thing to do. "
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) sees the expanded network as a contribution to the European economy's own clout: "It shows how important it is for Europe to take its digital sovereignty back into its own hands."
So far, many car manufacturers and suppliers have been heavily dependent on the American and Asian IT groups.
In the coming years, however, you will invest billions in software and networking that you have developed yourself.
VDA boss Hildegard Müller said she expected the law on autonomous driving in Germany to be passed in the legislative period that is coming to an end.
The corresponding draft went through the federal cabinet in mid-February.
It receives a legal framework for autonomous vehicles of the so-called level 4. These should be able to drive in regular operation in public road traffic as early as 2022.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210302-99-653765 / 2