HANOVER: GERMAN AUTOMAKER Volkswagen's CEO has called for the automotive industry to ensure that customer privacy remains protected as connected technology filters into every part of the driving experience.
Speaking at the Cebit opening ceremony attended by The INQUIRER, Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn said, "We have one concern: we must not allow the car to become a threat to our data privacy. We protect our cars from all sorts of risks on the road. We need to be equally vigilant in protecting our customers from the abuse of their data. I say yes to big data and no to the nanny state and big brother. This is something that affects our whole industry."
He said that carmakers should join a voluntary group to reassure customers that their driving data will remain private.
On the notion of driverless cars, Winterkorn was sceptical that their use will become widespread. He explained that VW "struggles with the idea" of the driver relinquishing control. However, he said that the Volkswagen Group is working on technology that takes control in moments of need.
"VW Group is committed to developing this technology and has been doing so for many years. Our aim is not to take control away from the driver - they will always retain the power of decision. Our aim is to lighten the load in some situations - when stuck in traffic, or when driving around looking for a parking space."
He reminded the audience of Volkswagon's recent talks with Google, with Audi in particular committing to working with the firm on in-car technology based on Android. But he said that he wanted to see more collaboration from technology firms in other countries. "It would no doubt be a good thing if German and European IT companies would put themselves forward as partners too," he said.
Car technology has become an field with huge potential for technology companies, with Apple most recently having announced its Carplay service in partnership with some of the world's biggest carmakers, including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. µ