Valeo's Martin Haub says the magic formula for success with in-car electronics is fail-proof functions at bargain prices. The French supplier's group vice president for research and development and product marketing believes that reliability is essential, but so is making in-car electronics fit the needs of end users. He spoke with Automotive News Europe's Jens Meiners at a technology workshop in Stuttgart.
What are the biggest challenges facing the auto industry when it comes to in-car electronics?
We all know that 90 percent of the innovations in the automotive industry will be electronics based. And we could not live today without systems such as electronic starters, ABS, air-conditioning ... The challenge for suppliers and carmakers alike is to have the reliability of the aviation industry at affordable prices.
The issues that are always played up are reliability and [having] too much control over the driver. That is why it is essential to integrate end-user feedback and explain the use of these new technologies.
Can Valeo improve in-car electronics if given more responsibility for entire systems?
The OEMs need to assign clear leadership, which sometimes they are reluctant to do. And such leadership will only work if the system leader has a sufficient portion of this project.
Is fuel cell technology the future?
Hydrogen is difficult to produce and to transport. I therefore have a skeptical point of view -- not only about logistics, but also the primary energy sources.
The technology is on our radar screen, but we have not ventured beyond the stage of observation.
Many technologies are more important and imminent, such as hybrid systems, particularly start-stop and regenerative braking systems. [Valeo's start-stop is on a version of the Citroen C3 lower-medium car.]