Hilmar Dunker

Last month's carIT Congress in Frankfurt made clear once again the IT tasks ahead for the auto industry.

Speakers from BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen reviewed some of the innovations that will feature in the next generation of vehicles. Those novelties include access to the Cloud, car-to-car communications and a range of other new functions.

None of these innovations are conceivable without the use of IT technologies. IT makes the networked car - and the in-vehicle infotainment revolution - possible.

"Connecting the car is a milestone in the auto industry," said Elmar Frickenstein, head of electronics at premium car maker BMW.

And that is certainly no understatement. According to some studies, roughly 80 pc of all new cars will be connected by 2016.

The pace of innovation in the area of information technology is breathtaking. And automotive R&D departments need to keep up with the latest developments. To do so, they need indepth knowledge of the IT business.

That knowledge is available in-house in automakers' own IT departments. The experts dealing with business IT are intimately familiar with the problems and risks associated with new information technology. They've been dealing with them for years, if not decades.

To name just one example: Security and data protection.

It's clear that automakers should make more use of the in-house IT resources available to them. A think tank whose members come from automotive r&d as well as from the business IT department seems like a logical idea.

-Hilmar Dunker is editor in chief of automotiveIT and carIT magazines.