Volkswagen has opened a new IT center today at its factory in Dresden, Germany that is set to play an important role in the carmaker’s cloud, hardware and software applications, in particular across digital assembly and logistics processes.
The center, known as the Software Development Center Production (SDC Production), will hire up to 80 new IT specialists to work on the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, a major project together with Amazon Cloud Services, Siemens and others that will link processes and data across more 120 production facilities across the group.
The new technology center is part of an ongoing digital expansion evident for the carmaker in the eastern state of Saxony. Volkswagen has designated the Dresden plant, known as the Gläserne Manufaktur, or Transparent Factory, as digital production platform, where a number of advanced robotic, artificial intelligence and other technologies are being put to use.
For example, the plant uses AI to support visual quality checks in assembly, including for automated priming tasks for door and side windows – a robotics application that comes from the Dresden-based startup, Wandelbots.
Dresden is a production center for the electric version of the Volkswagen Golf. The carmaker’s facility in Zwickau, also in Saxony, will also produce electric vehicles and technology.
Volkswagen and local officials pointed to the growing software and IT competency developing in Dresden and elsewhere in Saxony, including at local universities specializing in software and communications technology, including TU Dresden and the Dresden University of Applied Sciences.
Martin Hofmann, head of IT for the Volkswagen Group, stated: “With the new IT Development Center in the Gläserne Manufaktur, our expert knowledge will continue to grow; skills in important areas of technology secure our future.”
Thomas Popp, head of the Saxony State Chancellery and Official Representative for Information Technology (CIO) of the Free State of Saxony: “All the ingredients for successful IT development meet in Saxony. Qualified specialists from universities, application-oriented research and the IT industry are of particular significance. The extraordinary level of commitment that Volkswagen has invested in the Development Center for the digital production platform in Dresden, as well as in the full renovation of the Zwickau factory for electric mobility, demonstrates the confidence in the conditions at the Saxony site. The State Chancellery welcomes the new IT developers of the digital ecosystem from around Dresden.”
Volkswagen Group is also running a future mobility incubator program at the Transparent Factory. In May, it selected six startups to further invest in and develop in areas including batteries, new vehicle navigation systems, innovative image processing, smart-home solutions for cars, and retrofit kits for autonomous driving.
Dresden has now also been indentified as an important development center for the Industrial Cloud, with more than a third of the 220 specialists envisaged for the medium-term for the Industrial Cloud set to work here. Munich and Wolfsburg are also supporting development work for the cloud; in Berlin, the participating companies are planning a joint Industrial Cloud Innovation Center.
Volkswagen has recently announced a number of significant investments to increase digital competencies across the group. It will invest €4 billion ($4.55 billion) to increase automation processes, and update IT systems, including to SAP 4/Hana, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning.
The carmaker also announced that it will create an in-house software development unit for in-vehicle and mobility services.