Uncovering the Concept of Connected Vehicles with Marcus Welz, Hyundai-Part 1

By Ed Bernardon

Our connected mobility future is already here! 

Eco-friendly farming through a “Farmer First” mentality.

Imagine being in a car that allows you to subscribe to the features you want instead of visiting a dealership to get them. On top of that, you would also be able to get system updates, sync with your cloud playlists, weather updates, assisted driving, among others.

Well, that’s what car manufacturers are seeking to do as they push to create connected vehicles. They are essentially turning cars into computers that we can drive and get a far better user experience.

It’s all understandable because users’ needs have expanded beyond moving from point A to point B and accelerating to certain speeds in seconds. The ability to connect the vehicle to one’s devices as well as the internet will soon be a necessity rather than a luxury.

In this episode, the first part out of two, Ed Bernardon interviews Marcus Welz, Vice President Smart Mobility at Hyundai. He’ll help us understand the concept of connected vehicles and the benefits they provide to the users. He’ll also share with us the challenges that they face in the development of these vehicles.

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What exactly is a connected vehicle? (02:16)
  • How do the monitoring features contribute to improved user experience? (10:13)
  • How does your past experience, working on intelligent traffic systems, help you in the job you are in now? (18:37)
  • What do you think would motivate the different players to work together to maximize the benefits of connected vehicles? (25:22)

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • The negative side of connected cars (05:22)
  • The different aspects of a connected car and how they all work together to create a customized experience (06:59)
  • How the connected car project aligns with Hyundai’s vision (12:03)
  • How different people view and relate to the concept of connected vehicles (20:28)

Connect with Marcus Welz:

Connect with Ed Bernardon:

Ed Bernardon: You rush out the door, running late for a flight taking you to that all important meeting. As you approach your car, it automatically unlocks, You hop in, tell it your destination, and without hesitation it navigates the best route to the airport based on traffic, weather, the available modes of transportation and of course your personal preferences to optimize time, cost or even sustainability. As the vehicle drives autonomously, you catch up on emails, return a few calls, and schedule an early morning breakfast reservation at your destination.

It wasn’t that long ago that this would sound like a scene out of a sci-few novel, but with today’s advanced vehicle tech and the evolving infrastructure around these vehicles, the possibilities are endless. As cars become more and more connected, manufacturers are increasingly adding features more akin to a smartphone than a traditional car.  Apps can be used to

  • change or improve functionality of the vehicle
  • stream services when the driver wants to use them,
  • purchase those services, or vehicle software and even hardware options,
  • as well as completely changing the entire car buying and upgrading experience

 -into music-

Welcome the Future Car Podcast, I’m your host Ed Bernardon  and today’s guest walks us through the intricacies of one major manufacturer’s vison  to explain just how this tech will change our mobility future from initial car sales to on-going vehicle upgrades and to our enhanced in-cabin experience.

In part 1 of our conversation with Marcus Welz the Vice president of Smart Mobility at Hyundai he brings us inside the world of Hyundai’s mission to bring connected vehicles to the forefront. He might even teach us a secret or two of how to get out of those pesky speeding tickets.

 Marcus welcome to the future Car podcast.

Marcus Welz: Thanks, Ed. Great to talk to you again. And thanks for having me on your podcast.

Ed Bernardon: Well, let’s start off with talking about what a connected vehicle is. And if we go back 15, or maybe even 20 years, we weren’t nearly as connected as we are now. Our smartphones have gotten us to the point where we’re constantly connected to social media, purchasing things on Amazon. And now we’re not only going to be connected with our phones but potentially even with our car. So, what exactly is a connected vehicle and how does it compare to how we’re connected with our phones?

Marcus Welz: Great question, Ed. Because, for me, a connected vehicle is connecting people with quality time. We all know that more and more vehicles are becoming connected. But what does that actually mean? A connected vehicle is a car that features intelligent systems, which is capable of optimizing its own operations and also ensuring more convenience and comfort for the passengers or for the drivers. And I’m talking also, and I will potentially talk a lot about passengers as well. Because when we talk about the future of mobility and the future of also autos, there will be, of course, autonomous vehicles in the mix. So, we will all become more passengers than drivers. I mean, that all may sound a little technocratic, but the connected car is more than a feature, or the infotainment system, or putting a SIM card into the vehicle. It’s an ecosystem that enables better trips, smarter trips, more reliable trips, and more efficient trips. And ultimately, I think what matters to users of a car is that it is hassle-free driving. And ultimately, this is why I’m talking about quality of life. And when you talk about a smartphone, I mean, before even talking about differences in technology of a car and a smartphone, I think it is, again, always very helpful to put the human aspect into the mix. Because nowadays, a smartphone is actually a life companion. So, for many people, it’s the first thing they touch in the morning and the last thing they check in before they go to bed. So, the daily screen time on smartphones is way longer than most people’s driving time in the car.

Marcus Welz: So, it’s all about work. It’s about play. It’s about socializing. And this is what you use the smartphone for. But you can certainly ask whether the smartphone is the best device to do all of these services and all of these aspects. There are applications where it is way better to use the vehicle. Just think about the accuracy of the location for the embedded vehicle telematics system. If you take out your smartphone to help your driving experience, even if you go to a grocery store, you may have experienced that you end up making a wrong turn or that you don’t get your exact location delivered on your smartphone. And these are the things where a vehicle is definitely better equipped for those services which are directly related to driving.

Ed Bernardon: Some people might argue that now that we’re so connected with our smartphones, that there are pluses and there are minuses. You’re sitting at dinner with people and they’re all looking down at their phones. you think, with a connected car, it’s going to have its pluses and minuses? Or is it just going to be just a lot better? It’s all on the plus side?

Marcus Welz: Generally speaking, both a phone or a connected car is, at the end of the day, a hub, which connects the person, the individual, to many other things or other people. Will this have pluses and minuses? Of course, it will, because there will be areas where you rather spend time for yourself and you don’t want to be accessible, you don’t want to be online, you don’t want to be reached, you don’t want to be connected. While we are all getting more and more connected with a smartphone. And this will probably merge also more into the car and you get more access to work tools or social tools in the vehicle, you will be tempted to be more available, which at one point in time is also a disadvantage. I don’t think, necessarily, that there are specific disadvantages to a car versus a smartphone when it comes to the connectivity aspect. Of course, it is important in a car that safety is always put first, that you are not connecting just everything with everything else, and you will get messages which will just be distracting you from driving, or which will put you in a dangerous situation. So, I think the emphasis will always need to be on safety, the core task while being in the car is driving.

Ed Bernardon: Yeah, it all comes down to how you end up using it in the end. And like you said, because it is a car, it opens up some new things that you don’t get with your phone; you mentioned safety and how safety comes with connectivity to pedestrians and other cars, infrastructure; there’s occupant and driver monitoring to make sure you’re alert and staying awake. And then there’s also the whole idea of being able to update the car from a software and hardware standpoint. Can you talk about these different aspects of the connected vehicle and how they all work together to create this, like you said, an improved lifestyle?

Marcus Welz: Yeah, I think the first basic feature for all the OEMs and for all the cars is over-the-air updates. This enables all the software features to be updated without the need to go into a dealership or to a service center, you can essentially push these updates over the air, which allows also the vehicle to stay up-to-date whenever there is a new function, a new feature, or just a security patch available in order to keep also the car safe from any cyber attacks or from any potential hazards. And of course, being able to update the car and update the features of the car will also allow the drivers to be more flexible in which of the features they’re actually using and when. Just think about how cars are currently being purchased by people. So, when you buy a car, you make your decision, assess, essentially at the beginning of the procurement process about what’s the trim, which features do you want, and which features do you not want. You look at your own budget and you decide what you really need to have and what is maybe not essential. And this whole scheme could potentially change because some of these features can be enabled with the software later. You will have the hardware in the vehicle anyway. You can make those decisions whenever you need it. You don’t potentially need a seat heater for the whole year. You can decide to subscribe to a heating driver or passenger seat in the winter times, and then you can unsubscribe or use it when you really need it.

Marcus Welz: So, I think this will change a lot in the way the cars are being configured. But also in the way cars are being, let’s say, sold for the second use. I mean, rarely anybody uses the same car throughout his whole lifetime. So, you will, at one point in time, end up selling the car. And today, you made your decisions when you procured the new car, which features are important to you. But when you’re about to sell the car, maybe the potential buyer have different interests, have different priorities. So, he or she may not like your selection. But this won’t matter because the new buyer, the person for the second use of the car, can ultimately decide himself or herself on which features to unlock and which features, maybe, to disable. And this will also allow that second user to configure a very personalized experience and car.

Ed Bernardon: It’s almost like the apps on your phone. I buy the phone, the smartphone, and then I can put the apps on there that I want. But in this case, it’s more than just an app. It could actually be activation of certain hardware, like you were saying, a heated steering wheel. So, if I’m living up here in Boston, maybe between November and January, I want that to turn on. And somebody in Florida might just want the ventilated seats on for the entire year. So, I can customize based on my needs for the time period I want. So, really, you’re just paying for what you really need. Now, the other aspects, certainly everyone who thinks of connected vehicles, they think about entertainment and the streaming of entertainment. But there’s also, like you mentioned, there’s safety and then there’s the monitoring of the driver and the occupants. How does that contribute to this lifestyle, this improved environment that you’re going to get in a connected vehicle?

Marcus Welz: What truly inspires me, Ed, is what can happen if cars start talking to each other and talking to the infrastructure. Because connected vehicle, it also includes the vehicle to infrastructure, the V2X and V2I aspect of it. I think it’s often overlooked that the main aspect of V2X and V2I is actually safety: collision avoidance, giving a warning if a driver is on an impending red light violation or if a pedestrian is stepping into the intended path of a driver. So, these are really safety-relevant features where accidents could be significantly reduced. These are also features, if you like, which connectivity allows and which enables, ultimately, to have a more safer mobility, utilizing the connectivity not only of the vehicle with your own personalized experience but also with the infrastructure and with other vehicles.

Ed Bernardon: Let’s talk a little bit about Hyundai and their strategy here with connected vehicles and really just transportation in general. Certainly, Hyundai along with all the other major OEMs and startups, a lot of activity in electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles. But then Hyundai is also delving a bit into urban air vehicles, hydrogen. How do all these pieces fit together?

Marcus Welz: Great question. And let me maybe start on the level of our vision as Hyundai, as a motor group. Our vision is to achieve progress for humanity. So, we are here to do the right things for humanity.

Ed Bernardon: That’s a noble cause. If you’re going to have a high-level goal, that’s a good one.

Marcus Welz: I agree. And you might not be surprised to hear progress in the vision statement of an OEM. But by believing in the value of humanity, it allows us really to strengthen our relationships, feel connected and get more from life. Our idea of the future mobility is based on a strong commitment to get the most out of the time we have. And I think you’re right, this is a very noble cause. So, it’s not all about to going from A to B, but about the movement itself which truly matters. And this is the future of mobility. the end of the day, if you go and dig a little deeper, the strategy, it reinforces our plan to lead the future of mobility industry as a smart mobility solution provider. And this is supported by three major pillars: One is the smart mobility device, one is the smart mobility service, and the third one are the hydrogen solutions which reflects Hyundai’s commitment to fuel cell development and also commercialization. The directive is really that we want to, of course, always enhance our competitiveness of our automotive business, mainly through electrification; also, establishing a foundation of becoming a mobility service provider – so, not only delivering a smart device but also smart services; and then securing initiatives around our hydrogen ecosystem.

Ed Bernardon: I suppose they are coupled together, too. We have urban air vehicles moving people within a city or maybe from a city center to an airport, which alleviates traffic on the ground. And if this traffic on the ground is electric and maybe even powered by hydrogen, then it’s more sustainable. I suppose it’s key to have all the pieces to achieve, greater benefits for humanity, but do it in a sustainable way because it all fits together.

Marcus Welz: Yeah, absolutely. I also agree that they are really connected. All these pillars are not completely isolated from each other. The best example might be Autonomous Vehicle. There are multiple aspects of how can a self-driving vehicle could benefit the driving experience. But I think a big benefit of self-driving vehicle is also if this technology is used in mobility services. And this is also our first delivery of our self-driving vehicle, which is actually based on the IONIQ 5, our flagship battery electric vehicle will be used in 2023 in a fleet of Robo taxis actually in a collaboration with Lyft. And we will launch it right here in Las Vegas. And this will also be the place where we will have the first Hyundai self-driving vehicles on the road. But it’s possible beyond that. I mean, we started with clean mobility already 1991 when we had our first electric vehicle concept delivered and our first electric vehicle car. So, we really strive to maintain a leadership position in the electric vehicle world. We launched our ix35, the world’s first mass-produced fuel select vehicle in 2013, which is followed now by the Nexo, the first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV, it goes beyond the passenger cars, but it is all about electrification in a broader sense. And not only about electric vehicles with battery technology, but also using fuel cell technology to get away from combustion engines.

Ed Bernardon: I’d like to ask you a little bit about your background. You’re now in Germany, working with Hyundai. Previous to that, you spent a lot of time in the United States when you were at Siemens in the Intelligent Traffic System. So, you’ve had exposure to the American way of business and also the way business is done in Germany, business engineering. And actually, right off your LinkedIn page, it said, one of your comments, “Let’s combine US digital transformation talents with German engineering skills to create sustainable value.” Now, I’m sure our listeners would love to know how that combination of US digital transformation and German engineering skills work together. Can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts on that?

Marcus Welz: Well, I expected a lot, Ed, but not that you’re stalking my LinkedIn profile. First, let me say that I’m a true believer in lifelong learning. So, it’s important to not confuse movement with progress. And I think in a fast-paced world, this is very easy to confuse. I mean working hard, learning always, and reflecting; I think this is what we should do, everybody. So, now I had the pleasure to grow up, study, and start my career in Germany. So, I use tools which are rigorous, which are beautiful, which is math, physics. I learned from the get-go to German engineering practice; the value of structure, focus on quality, and all the good stuff. However, to create new sustainable value, it needed more than that. And what I learned in my time in the US while pioneering many new topics such as connected vehicle technology, Mobility-as-a-Service, I experienced the value of an ecosystem. Transformation is more than technology, technology is just the enabler. It’s all about solving problems previously unsolved, it’s creating a culture of entrepreneurship. It’s about assembling smart people and make sure that they are laser-focused on transformational topics, and that they are not get sucked into the vortex of what is urgent and important today. So, it’s probably a little bit too much stereotype to say that Germans are the best engineers and Americans are the best leaders in digital transformation. But we need both, and I think this is what the statement is about. We need math and physics and basic engineering practice, but we also need creativity, inspiration to move really beyond what is good and valuable today.

Ed Bernardon: It’s a deadly combination that strong engineering with strong creativity. In some ways, keeping each in check to some extent; You were in Intelligent Traffic Systems. You led the Intelligent Traffic Systems group in North America for Siemens and now you’re on the vehicle side. So, a unique experience. You’re on both sides of the connection. So, can you tell us a little bit about how does this experience help you do the job that you’re doing now?

Marcus Welz: I think, first, it is safe to say that the mobility space is diverging with very successful companies from the automotive industry, large, fast-moving IT players, and also, mobility companies in the broader sense. There is this joint solution space, especially in that area for connected and automated vehicle, Mobility-as-a-Service and platform business goal is to rethink travel and really increase driver or passenger experience. And I think a great place to be is the automotive industry. I think automotive companies especially also very innovative and vision-driven, companies like Hyundai are a great place to really shape the future. So, the experience of knowing how an infrastructure or how a smart city works, and how some of newer technologies such as artificial intelligence are being used in adjacent technologies, whether this is traffic management, whether this is parking, whether this is charging, is, of course, also of benefit to Hyundai. Because when we think about connectivity and a connected car, it’s not only about being able to open or close the car with a smartphone or knowing what’s the fueling status, it’s also about integration to the broader ecosystem.

Ed Bernardon: When you think about connected vehicles, we were just talking about that connection part, like you’re working on Intelligent Traffic Systems, there’s the vehicle part, and there’s also the city infrastructure part where government and the mayors of cities start to get involved, aybe you can make a comparison here. If you were to walk into, say, a meeting room, when you were in the Intelligent Traffic Systems group at Siemens, and you were to say, “We’re going to talk about connected vehicles today.” There’s probably an impression in their heads as to what that is. You walk into a conference room at Hyundai. They probably have a different first impression. And then let’s add the government side. You go in and you’re sitting with a mayor of a city that’s looking at having more connected vehicle technology in their city and they probably think of something else. How would you compare for those three, have maybe a different impression of what a “connected vehicle” is?

Marcus Welz: That’s a great conversation. I think for many people, a connected vehicle is either knowing the vehicle status or doing some sort of remote control, which is good, or it is the infotainment system. And of course, this is also part of the connectivityBut when we talk about connected vehicle, we should always think beyond this. We should think about, let’s say, solving specific problems. And now this is when you talk to a city or when you talk to an infrastructure provider, then the connected vehicle is always connecting the cars to the infrastructure, and enabling real-time communication, second by second, on a standardized protocol, and ideally, very interoperable between all OEMs and between all different infrastructure providers, really, to focus on use cases, when you talk about the infrastructure side of things, the main focus is the vehicle to infrastructure part, the safety part.

Marcus Welz: When you enter a meeting with more traditional car guys, you will definitely, first, talk about what data can we collect from the vehicle? And how can we make those data available to the user? Or how can we maybe make the service easier? it’s all very centered about the car. And rightfully so, I think this is also where a different perspective from both sides would be not thinking on how to put more devices on the infrastructure side or how to get more data out of the car, how to use the data in a way which benefits the driver or the passenger. I think this is the true value at the end of the day. It needs to get more personalized, and it need to, let’s say, make the trip, the move, more seamless and easier and safer. And then we add value to the whole equation, but you can definitely see that shift in the conversations with all the different players on how we need to look at things in order to make it a sustainable value for everybody involved.

Ed Bernardon: And what about the urban managers, urban planners, the mayors, what’s their impression of what this connected vehicle technology is? How’s it different than the car and the infrastructure providers?

Marcus Welz: I think for the urban planners and for the mayors, I think the connectivity, of course, also allows a lot of, let’s say, new use cases, and actually allows them to save money. Just think about one thing: Today, when you drive around the city you see all these cameras on the road, most of the cameras are not there to do surveillance or to watch what you’re doing, most of the cameras are actually there to detect the vehicles, to know whether there is congestion, to make traffic lights smarter, and to do really traffic management and traffic control. So, a connected car can, of course, make those type of infrastructure more or less redundant because, in the future, the cars will tell the cities where they are right. So, this will allow the city and urban planners to rethink the whole infrastructure side. So, it will allow them to save money to invest maybe more in pedestrians or vulnerable road users such as bicyclists instead of spending all the budget for the more traditional technologies. We will, of course, need all the proven and reliable components. Don’t get me wrong, the connectivity aspect will give more information about not only the individual car but also holistically the traffic situation, and about the level of services on the road, and where there is congestion, and where there is an accident, and how to respond to this. And giving this availability of data directly from the vehicle, you could spend the public money elsewhere rather than in all that infrastructure.

Ed Bernardon: So, for the city manager, the urban planners, the whole idea is to make that urban environment better for everyone. Like you were saying, there are the vulnerable road users, there’s public transportation that to work with the cars, and let’s keep the traffic flowing, and all that. Then you have, on the car side, all these things about infotainment, or providing information, providing that great traveling environment. And then you have the infrastructure providers that are going to try and make all this connect together. What could you tell us about how these different groups have to work together? How they should divide their responsibilities? Because, traditionally, if you think about this as providing transportation, it’s not a set of groups that normally work together. So, for instance, in the past, a subway provider might provide subway trains to the city. But now you’ve got car companies and infrastructure companies and cities what do you think the keys are to getting these three different groups to work together?

Marcus Welz: Where we are good at today is in optimizing the individual systems whether this is making the infrastructure smarter, making the car smarter, even enhancement of public transport. While this is still a big challenge, it is good that there are more investments in making public transportation buses or railway systems more affordable and increase the passenger experience. But where we are not good at is integrating those different modes of mobility into bigger and better things a part of the future is that, incrementally, we will have more intermodal and multimodal platforms which allow the citizens or visitors in the city, the people, to really make their own decisions on how to travel not only from A to B but from A to Z using different modes of transportation. And also considering the real traffic situation or the weather condition; is it a great day and are you willing to maybe walk to the bus station and take a scooter for the last mile solution when you arrive at the city center? Or is it a rainy day and you’d rather take your own car and try to get a good parking spot and maybe even hail a car in order to get the last mile? we need to integrate all these systems in the back end that people can use a single app, for instance, to plan their trip, to book their trip, to pay their trip.

[] Marcus Welz: And this is where also all the different players, whether these are cities, infrastructure providers, mobility operators, OEMs can work together many OEMs – are also becoming mobility solution providers. So, it’s not only about selling a car, it’s maybe having a fleet of vehicles in a car-sharing or in any other mobility service being operated in the city environment. So, we have the services which are operated and governed by the city such as buses or railway. And then we have the private sector, who also has their own fleets of vehicles, whether this is cars, or whether these are two-wheelers. And today, this is very disconnected in many places; this is definitely a place where the ecosystem can work together. I think it also needs the mindset. It needs the mindset of the different players to collaborate, to work together, and to build that ecosystem. OEMs will become very strong and large IT companies with platform capabilities for their own operating system in the vehicle. And they could use those capabilities also to create those platforms which are really immersive, which are immersive and which are being used in an integrated fashion, and also using other mobility solutions as part of a solution. But in some other places, it could be the city who’s driving it, maybe not starting to code software, but to work with a maybe university or with a startup, or it could be infrastructure companies.

[] Marcus Welz: And I think this is not a market where we will have a winner-takes-it-all. I think we will have platforms which are available, which allow people who live, for instance, in Europe to have one app with integrated a certain level of services in many European cities, and the same in North America. And then we will have probably very city-specific applications which combine all the local services in the city. I think it is not realistic to assume that we have that one platform and one company will build the future of mobility and on one platform there might be multiple apps, at the end of day, even for the users. It allows them to have more options, and it allows them to pick whatever solution suits them best, which is also a good thing at the end of the day.

[] Ed Bernardon: It’s a great vision. Multimodal transportation, every moment that I’m traveling, I’m in this great environment that I love. But in order to achieve that vision you mentioned, well, you have to take incremental steps. So, for that first increment, if you could magically solve a problem here that gets us closer to this vision, what problem would you love to snap your fingers and say, “Ah, if we could solve this, it would be taking that first big increment towards this ultimate urban traveling environment.” What would that be do you think?

[] Marcus Welz: I think it would be a joint policy on, let’s say, interoperability guidelines. I don’t think we need to invent this one technology aspect. the challenges of interfacing, the challenges of integration are solved because this is the standard for interoperability. Between different solution providers, this is how it can be done, that the one who builds the smartest platform the fastest and creates a lot of value to the people, that this company will then be able to unleash the potential. And this might be a startup. This might not be a big OEM or a big infrastructure provider. But at the end of the day, this will allow innovation if there is interoperability. We need also a little bit of governance, we need a clear direction. And it should be done by, let’s say, utilizing the input from the industry. But then also, at least on a cross country level, whether this is Europe, whether this is North America, whether this is Asia, that there are common guidelines and standards that really private sector and public sector can focus on creating solutions rather than debating forever on which standards it’s the most appropriate for which use case.

[] Ed Bernardon: So, more standardization and technology. We probably have many of the technology pieces that we need, but now it’s a matter of getting the ones that Hyundai has and other OEMs have in startups and cities and infrastructure providers, and really get them working together singing the same song. If you could solve that, then you can focus on the technology and know that that technology will get applied appropriately. In some ways, I would love the idea of my smartphone to be able to take my apps on an iPhone and move it over to an Android. nd having all those things work together. So, it hasn’t really even been completely achieved with cell phones either yet.

[] Marcus Welz: I agree. In the cell phone world, there are two major standards. For instance, if you build apps, you have to, of course, be able to work in the iOS world or to work in the Android world. And yes, those two worlds, these operating systems are disconnected. And I think it’s also naive to think that we will have one operating system for the cars. But if we think about the level beyond, from integration platforms, from different mobility modes, from different services, from connectivity between vehicles and other elements. To have those standardized, I think could really help. And at the end of the day, we may not have that one standard. But if we have one standard for Europe and one standard for the US and one standard for Asia, this is at least the baseline to work upon. And the same would apply to technology if there is, let’s say, two technology options. being able to have a common baseline and utilizing maybe even two technologies. But it gives a certain degree of the companies and cities and people can plan. And that helps if you think about innovation in such a complex environment such as multimodal mobility.

Ed Bernardon: Now, before we let you go, though, we have one more thing, which is our rapid-fire section. So, I’m going to ask you a series of quick questions, and you can give me some real quick answers. You’re ready to go?

Marcus Welz: All right, let’s do it.

Ed Bernardon: All right. What was the first car you ever bought or owned?

Marcus Welz: The first car I bought was an Opel Astra Convertible. And it was a deep forest green. And unfortunately, rain leaked on the driver’s side in the convertible roof. So, my coolness suffered a little bit when I was 18 by having a leakage in the car.

Ed Bernardon: It’s like a better and ventilated seats. Did you pass your driver’s test on the first try?

Marcus Welz: I sure did, actually, both in Europe and when I moved to the US, because I had to redo it again.

Ed Bernardon: So, speaking of Europe. So, you now live in Germany, and we all know about the autobahn. What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven a car on the autobahn, or anywhere for that matter?

Marcus Welz: As you know, we can still have areas in the German Autobahn where there is unlimited speed. And I think the fastest I ever went is around 250 kilometers per hour.

Ed Bernardon: So, that’s what, maybe like 180, is that right? Maybe a little bit less, between 160 and 180. Have you ever had a speeding ticket? Anyone that’s got 160 miles per hour must have speeding ticket stories to tell.

Marcus Welz: I think my best speeding ticket story is actually more how I avoided getting a speeding ticket. And this was actually during my time in North America, and I was visiting my factory in Kentucky. This was the first week I relocated from Europe to North America. And again, I was traveling from Austin, Texas to Kentucky. And on my way back, I had a first two-hour drive to Nashville, Tennessee to catch my flight. And in Nashville, I ran a stop sign. And there was, of course, a police officer right at this intersection. And when the police officer asked me whether I haven’t seen the stop sign and why did I run it, my immediate answer was, “Oh, I actually saw the stop sign but I was driving too fast to stop safely at that sign.” And recognizing my German accent, having my German driver license in hand and knowing that I was driving a rental car, I think the officer let me go with a warning. Would I have done the same thing maybe a month later with a US driver’s license, then probably I would have had a bigger issue. But it’s definitely a funny story.

Ed Bernardon: It was probably worth keeping that German driver’s license always in your pocket when you lived in Texas, I would imagine. So, on the Future Car Podcast, we talk about the living room on wheels, which is fully autonomous. You don’t have to worry about driving so you can have anything you want in the car. So, you’re taking a trip, a five-hour trip, we always say, from Boston to New York. What does your living room on wheels look like? What would you have in that car? Anything you want.

Marcus Welz: It’s hard to say. I want to climb in and enjoying a seamless, endless space and comfort. So, I think it’s about space and comfort, and combination with the latest technologies. I think I’d like to be free and independent in my car, and the car needs to offer that.

Ed Bernardon: What person, living or not, would you want to spend that five-hour car ride with?

Marcus Welz: Oh, I would love to invite our former chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, now that she’s out of service, and have some discussions with her and how she considers the situation. But I mean, besides that, it may sound a little bit corny but I would love to take my grandpa, who have hardly, let’s say, known before he died. So, one of the two would probably pick.

Ed Bernardon: If you had Angela with you and you were doing the Marcus Welz Podcast, what question would you want her to answer?

Marcus Welz: She picked for her farewell [ inaudible], actually, a very specific old song from Germany. It was actually a movement when Germany was divided towards the inofficial, and now there was a lot of speculation why she picked that one. And I want to learn more about that. She’s a very indirect person, so she gives a lot of signs to the public without making a true statement. This is just one of those signs where I want to know what you really wanted to tell us with that.

Ed Bernardon: What car best describes your personality?

Marcus Welz: I think a Maybach. I place importance to details both in my professional and my personal life. And my aspiration is always to surpass other aspirations. Maybach is very rich in tradition and rich and visions. I mean, I’m working for Hyundai and I love our Hyundai cars. But I think a Maybach very well reflect on my personality.

Ed Bernardon: That’s part 1 of our talk with Marcus, join us again next week to learn more about Hyundai’s vision for our connected transportation future, and as always for more information about Siemens Digital Industries Software, make sure to visit us at plm.automation.siemens.com. And until next time, I’m Ed Bernardon, and this has been the Future Car Podcast.

Marcus Welz: Thanks a lot, Ed. Great talking to you.

Marcus Welz - Guest , Vice President Smart Mobility Hyundai

Marcus Welz – Guest , Vice President Smart Mobility Hyundai

Marcus Welz leads Hyundai Motor Europe’s Smart Mobility and Future Business. The company is striving to provide freedom of movement to everyone by investing in mobility services and expanding our role beyond the automotive transportation sector. In this role, Welz manages Hyundai Motor Europe’s transformation to a Smart Mobility Solution Provider and drives strategic business direction. Prior to his current position, Welz served as President & CEO of Siemens Intelligent Traffic System business in North America. Welz holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Munich University of Applied Science and a Master of Science Degree from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Ed Bernardon, Vice President Strategic Automotive Intiatives - Host

Ed Bernardon, Vice President Strategic Automotive Intiatives – Host

Ed is currently VP Strategic Automotive Initiatives at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Responsibilities include strategic planning in areas of design of autonomous/connected vehicles, lightweight automotive structures and interiors. He is also responsible for Future Car thought leadership including hosting the Future Car Podcast and development of cross divisional projects. Previously a founding member of VISTAGY that developed light-weight structure and automotive interior design software acquired by Siemens in 2011.  Ed holds an M.S.M.E. from MIT, B.S.M.E. from Purdue, and MBA from Butler.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/podcasts/on-the-move/uncovering-the-concept-of-connected-vehicles-with-marcus-welz-hyundai-part-1/