Uncovering the Concept of Connected Vehicles with Marcus Welz, Hyundai – Part 2

By Ed Bernardon

Connected mobility and the impact on public transit and insurance 

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

Imagine having a car that knows you so well it can make recommendations on where to eat. If permitted, it would collect data on your driving patterns, share that data with an insurance company, and help get you a better insurance deal.

Such a car will go beyond being a machine you own, to being a device connected to your phone, your home, your accounts, among others.

These are some of the features that connected cars will bring to life once they hit the market in the future.

And that future is not very far off. Companies such as Hyundai have made big strides towards making these capabilities a reality for us.

In this episode, the second part out of two, Ed Bernardon interviews Marcus Welz, Vice President Smart Mobility at Hyundai. He’ll share with us the company’s vision on connected cars and the impact that they expect to have. He’ll also help us understand the extra features that the car will have as well as how they’ll contribute to the overall occupants’ experience.

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What benefits can you get from having a smart car connected to a smart home? (09:31)
  • How will connected cars impact how drivers and cars are insured? (11:20)
  • How will driver monitoring contribute to the occupants’ safety? (13:51)
  • What is the biggest engineering problem that needs to be solved to make connected cars a reality? (22:09)

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Hyundai vision for connected cars (01:06)
  • How the vehicle can use selected personal data to make recommendations (04:05)
  • Example of collaboration between the infrastructure side and the car side (05:48)
  • How connected cars can help in providing a more sustainable trip (17:14)

Connect with Marcus Welz:

Connect with Ed Bernardon:

Ed Bernardon: We all know that keeping an eye on our biometric stats can help send up possible red flags about our health before they become major health issues, but what if our car could do that for us? What if your car knew you so well that it could save you from a health-related accident—before you even knew that you were in trouble?  And what if your car could even help reduce the cost of your annual insurance bill?

Today, my conversation with Marcus Welz Hyundai’s VP of Smart Mobility continues as we talk about the myriad of benefits possible with connected vehicles, including the opportunity to vastly rehaul our ideas of public transportation, the potential to improve on the current car insurance model, and more of what Hyundai’s vision for the future looks like. 

 -into music-

Welcome  to the Future Car Podcast, I’m your host Ed Bernardon and today’s guest continues to walk us through the intricacies of Hyundai’s vison to enhance mobility and the in-cabin experience. In part 2 with Marcus Welz, Vice president of Smart Mobility at Hyundai,

he  brings  us inside the world of Hyundai’s mission to bring connected vehicles to the forefront and all the benefits that could present to drivers and passengers of the future. And to finish things off  in our Rapid Fire section at the end, he’ll give us some tips on making the best tiramisu.

Ed Bernardon: Let’s talk a little bit about Hyundai specifically. You touched on this early in the interview. Tell us again a bit more about what is the Hyundai vision for what a connected car is? How do we achieve these benefits for humanity; this greater utilization of time, this futuristic next-generation travel experience? Maybe give us a few examples of how it’s going to be different when I own a connected car, when I buy it, when I own it, when I sell it. Take us through what Hyundai’s vision is for all this.

Marcus Welz: So, when we talk about the vision, I mentioned, the purpose of all our work is to also add value and to increase the customer experience. We need to make mobility more convenient and solve problems which are currently unsolved. So, inside the car of the future, you might be notified of your next charging point extrapolated by the system from the vehicle’s usage pattern. So, really, what is the pattern driver uses the vehicle and what is the next charging point on the way to a trip from when you drive from Boston to California with your electric vehicle and you really want to make sure you make it there, you may need to do some stopping on the go and get charged. And if you know where to charge, when to charge, whether the charging infrastructure is actually in operation and it is working, whether you can schedule your charging time and also pay for the charging directly in the vehicle.

So, all of this will make the experience way more seamless and convenient because all these things, whether this is charging, fueling, tolling, parking, the vision is that this is uneventful. The goal is, and the vision is to make all these topics uneventful for the passenger or the driver. And I’m saying “the passenger” because even the passenger gets stressed when you are in your electric vehicle and you are 100 miles away from your destination, but you may not make it with your current charge, and you’re not exactly sure on where to go and how to charge and how long does it take you. And these are the things which, in a connected world, will really increase the satisfaction of the users. It will give you peace of mind and more quality time.

Ed Bernardon: I think about what you’re saying here in terms of a car. If the car gets to know you and it says, “Oh, Marcus loves barbecue.” He spent all that time in Texas. He hasn’t had barbecue for three months now. And you’re driving on that trip from Boston to California, it could say, “Hey, Marcus, there’s a great barbecue restaurant here in Columbus, Ohio coming up.” The car can get to know you. It knows where you are. It might have an idea of what you want. I suppose that’s all part of this travel experience.

Marcus Welz: I want to always be mindful of how much personal information I shared with whom. But at the same time, I think it is also worthwhile to consider that all of us got a lot of free lunches.

Ed Bernardon: It’s a balance between the two. I don’t want to give away everything, but I’ll give you enough so you can make me a little happier, make things a little easier for me.

Marcus Welz: Exactly. So, within the framework, I mean, always considering that the personal data and habits if you’re driving your car to certain destinations over a period of time when the car is smart enough to remember and knows that you enjoy the barbecue, or that you really, let’s say, are craving a certain sort of coffee regularly. And then it gives you maybe even a voucher or an ability to do that, you will get sort of a free lunch. And I think this is definitely potential of the future as well that the marketplace options of the vehicle. And while this is not about replacing functionalities or features which are on the web or on the phone, it is just added to what could really add value for a driver in those situations.

Ed Bernardon: Here in Massachusetts, and really throughout the world, there are those little boxes that automatically handle the tolls as you drive through the toll. So, you no longer have to hand money to a toll taker. And now there’s a future here in Massachusetts where you can pull into certain gas stations, and you pull in, you pump the gas, and off you go. You don’t have to pull your credit card out. Sounds like that’s the type of thing that could start to happen, where the car itself provides information to a gas station or maybe to the drive-thru at McDonald’s you pull in and you pull out, all the transaction is taken care of in between.

Marcus Welz: Absolutely. And that is maybe a perfect example with the tolling and also to get maybe a little bit more clarity and very tangible examples of a collaboration between the infrastructure side and the car side, and also the interoperability. So, just think about from an OEM, you are producing a lot of cars and you sell it throughout the world. So, at the same time, some of the cars are being used, for instance, in Boston, and there is a very local toll operator. But the same car is also sold in California and maybe in Europe, and there are European toll operators, is there a way to get the tolling embedded into the vehicle that you don’t need an aftermarket device, like an RFID tag, you mount into your windshield? No, you can definitely put it into the vehicle. This can be standardized. And the more collaboration between the tolling agencies and the infrastructure provider and the aggregators, then the easier it is to get these technologies in the car. But there are solutions there. There are different companies, different initiatives on what is today, already a big topic is, of course, the parking, the charging. And I think the tolling will be the same thing because it enhances your driving experience, the car automatically communicates with the tolling provider, and your payment options which are already securely stored in the vehicle which are used for fueling, charging, you can also use to pay the toll charge. These are the things where, incrementally, it will get more connected, it will be more interoperable, and it will ultimately get into the car and we don’t need those aftermarket devices anymore.

Ed Bernardon: And as a global OEM, you could bake in what’s unique from state to state in the United States, or maybe the differences between the United States and Germany. Or, for instance, if you’re going to order from McDonald’s in the United States, you would order the Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder. But in France, it’s called The Royale. So, this would automatically be built into the French version of the software. A lot of smarts could start to be built in. And also the connection to other types of transportation like the subway system of Paris or of London, I suppose that kind of customization now suddenly becomes possible.

Marcus Welz: I would agree. I mean, when we talked about multimodal journeys earlier in the podcast, and we’re talking about platforms; ultimately, you could, of course, also embed this into the vehicle that once you parked your car, hopefully in a smarter way than we do today, and then you can just directly book and pay your public transport ticket if you’re still needing to take a ride with the bus or with the train may be to go to your final destination. So, let’s say, these last-mile solutions. I think everything you could put into a smartphone can be embedded into the vehicle, ultimately. This is an element where it will also be helpful if the last mile challenge can be directly addressed while you’re driving to your destination.

Ed Bernardon: There are so many smart things, smart cities, smart phones, smart infrastructure, smart cars, there’s also smart homes. I suppose as you’re in your vehicle, and you’re about to come home, and you’ve turned the heat down during the day; the car knows where you are, and it knows when you arrive that you’d like the home to be at that certain temperature. I suppose interaction with the home.. Is there some benefits when it comes to smart homes and smart cars?

Marcus Welz: Yeah. I think the machine-to-machine connectivity. This is also what it is. Imagine if you have your smart home capabilities, which I’m sure you do as a technology person and enthusiast.

Ed Bernardon: Sometimes I think I have a bit too much; “Oh, you don’t get that feature unless you have the platinum package.” “Oh, okay, I’m sorry. I’ll have to upgrade.”

Marcus Welz: There you go. This is again, I think the connectivity aspect. This is again, where if your smart car is connected to your smart home, and when you reach a certain point on your trip home, that automatically turn the heater on or you can change the settings of the light. At the end of the day, I think there will be benefits of connecting those two elements. These are the things which you don’t necessarily have a huge additional value other than a little bit more convenience on this. But on the other hand, it is, technology-wise, rather simple. So, this is why I think if the technical feasibility is easy to overcome, I think even if the use case is not the strongest, there will be a way on how these types of solutions will find their way into commercialization.

Ed Bernardon: One thing we haven’t touched on yet is this idea of monitoring of the driver and monitoring of the occupants. And maybe first at the driver level, you will be able, to a great level of detail, monitor the driving habits of someone and as we all know, depending on your driving habits that can influence things like insurance. So, how do you see how connected vehicles will impact how we insure cars and insure drivers?

Marcus Welz: That’s a perfect example where I think it has a lot of potential. These telematics systems, these connected car systems, which know your driving habits. If you, as a driver, as an owner of a vehicle, allow to share that data with your insurance provider; I think in the future, many insurance providers will be able to offer very driver pattern-specific insurance packages and premiums, which would make it very attractive. Now, as an OEM, of course, you can decide which role you’re playing. Let’s say you have a smart car which recognizes the driver habits, you give the decision to the owner of the vehicle whether to share the data and maybe some OEMs want to become insurance companies and want to offer the insurance right away. Let’s say, the moment you buy your car. But this is definitely an area where I think there is a lot of win-win. It provides cost savings for the drivers. And it allows the insurance companies also to be more targeted and manage their risks.

Ed Bernardon. It seems that data is always so important. Here, the collector of the data or the one that owns it could be in a great position to become the insurer. So, you think there is a possibility that car companies, maybe alone or working together with the insurance companies of today, could be the insurances or the ones that provide insurance in the future?

Marcus Welz: Why not? there is the option whenever the driver says, “Yes, I’m willing to share that.” An OEM developed partnerships with one or multiple insurance companies, and based on the data collected by the driving habits, automatically, there will be offers generated. And in a very digital way, the user of a car could opt-in on this insurance. I think that’s yet to be seen whether this is part of the core competencies of an OEM. But as a facilitator, as a marketplace, I think this will definitely have its value in the future for all parties.

Ed Bernardon: With occupant monitoring, or let’s say driver monitoring, there are systems that are out there now that will monitor and see: Is the driver paying attention? Are the eyes in the right location? As you monitor more and more, for instance, monitoring heartbeat or the state of the driver in other ways, how will all this contribute to safety, or even more to just the well-being of the driver as they’re driving. How do you see what we measure and how those measurements are going to be used to keep the drivers safer, and also to give them a more enjoyable travel experience, maintaining their well-being to a greater level, say?

Marcus Welz: That’s a great question. And it’s actually not a simple topic. If you look at the statistics, there are many statistics which say that all the health, well-being, and wellness features are in its infancy, and there is a strong growth projection also when we talk about these features in the car. And I think there are other things which are very straightforward, which is cabin comfort, cabin air quality, and some of the personalized features, which I think will be key in the future of driving that, also the pandemic was supporting that strong drive towards more of these health related topics.

Marcus Welz: But if you think about how far we could go, I mean, this could, of course, go way further than that. There could be embedded functionality for monitoring your health, you mentioned that. I think you mentioned heart pressure rate, or blood pressure measurements, or blood sugar measurements. I mean, biometric technology offers a lot of potential in that to really monitor the health situation of a driver. And of course, ultimately, it can prevent accidents again. You could theoretically decide all the data I can share with the clinic or with my doctor, and it gives him or her more information about my conditions while driving and maybe in stressful situations. I think the opportunities are huge. But I think there is a business model aspect of that which has to be figured out. And I also think some sort of regulatory challenges which need to be overcome to bring that whole wealth and healthcare to the next level and really allow us to have some of these additional health and wellbeing features.

Ed Bernardon: What about the passengers? How do you see all this helping the passengers in addition to how it helps the driver?

Marcus Welz: In an equal way, it will help the passenger. All the human being, whether this is health, all the safety aspects, even the connectivity aspects; all we talk about, we should, at the same time, consider the driver and the passenger. I think at one point in time thinking 20 years ahead, we have to assume that we may become all passengers and just drive if we are really eager to drive, and otherwise, we will let the car take control. So, definitely, the focus needs to be not only on the driver but also on the passenger. And when it comes to the most vulnerable from us, the kids and the elderly people, I think the value is, of course, much higher if we can monitor and provide additional services for them in the car.

Ed Bernardon: One of the things that’s always on people’s minds these days is sustainability. Let’s think about that trip from Boston to California. My choice might be to do it as fast as possible. Someone else might say, “Well, you know, I’ll give up a little bit on speed or time if I could be more sustainable.” How does connected vehicles help in providing a more sustainable trip, more sustainable transportation?

Marcus Welz:  One of the biggest challenges in using alternative drive trains and powertrains such as electric vehicles or fuel cell electric vehicle is, where do I charge? Where do I refuel my hydrogen tank in my fuel cell electric vehicle? And the connectivity, the connected vehicle aspect will solve that. I think it is this option of maybe having – and I know that the drive from Boston to California is not the best example but – The multimodal modality, when we integrate various modes of transit and we can really say, “Okay, this trip is probably more an urban trip. But with an equal efficiency, it can be done by just leaving your car at home and really take public transport.” And make that an easy alternative. Public transport doesn’t start where we want it to start. It doesn’t end by wanting where we want it to end. And it doesn’t go all the time. And we are in the middle of, let’s say, with dozens of other people in a space, there are definitely many, many trips, which can be safer, better, faster be done by using public transportation. And steering those users who may not necessarily enjoy this mode into making some of these trips in a more sustainable way and using the modes of mobility where they are most beneficial, I think this will also help a lot with the sustainability. So, I think a lot of the connectivity aspects we talked have a direct impact on sustainability.

Ed Bernardon: Your example of the crosstown trip, I want to go from the south end of Paris to the north end. And I’d say, “Well, I don’t care, as long as I get there within one hour. Give me the greenest, most sustainable way to go.” So, one aspect of that is, “Oh, okay. Well, take your autonomous car to this point, switch over to a scooter, and then scooter over to where the subway might be.” But what I think is really key, and you just mentioned this, is the convenience. the handoff from the car to the phone, and the phone knows you’re going to the subway, and the subway recognizes that you’ve entered. And in the end, you get the bill. And you also did that trip in a very sustainable way that still met your schedule. It sounds like this is part of that vision. It’s convenient. It’s what you want from an enjoyment, sustainability standpoint. Somehow the car and your smartphone and all the systems that are connected to it are going to know how to do that for you someday.

Marcus Welz: Absolutely. I think multimodality in many aspects are part of our vision at Hyundai, are part of many thoughts of automotive companies on how the future of the mobility and the future of the business will also be structured. So, I think this is definitely an element on how we can allow the intermodal trips; how can we build platforms for our users, for our customers, which enable them to do that? How can we integrate third party services into such a platform? How can our services be an integral part of maybe a smart city platform that this is being considered as an option in a specific city for a certain mode of transportation? If we talk about sustainability, there are two aspects to that. I think the electrical car is a very important pillar, and is also, from a government and regulatory point of view, supported in Europe, in North America, to be part of making transportation cleaner. And another important pillar is on, let’s see, how can we ultimately reduce trips which are currently done with a car which could be done differently. And I think we will need both. We will not solve the big climate and CO2 emission crisis only with one element. I think we need to make public transport more attractive. And even as a car company, I think there is an element of where we really want to enable the use of public transport where it is also very beneficial for our customer. We want to be a lifetime partner. And whether this is with the Ioniq, whether this is with connectivity services. And then whether this is with a new fuel cell electric vehicle we bring, that we want to be a lifetime partner for mobility where a car will always be an integral and important part and the device will be smarter.

Ed Bernardon: Siemens, in particular, a division of Siemens where I work, Digital Industries Software group is very excited because of a recent announcement that we’re going to be working very closely now with Hyundai to engineer this future with some of the engineering software we have. If you look at the big engineering problems from the car side, what do you think the biggest car engineering problem is that needs to be solved to make this a reality what we’ve been talking about here?

Marcus Welz: I don’t know whether I am the best to answer that because I think there are multiple engineering problems when it comes to also developing the vehicle. My focus is more on developing the passenger experience rather than the vehicle itself. But I think it’s fair to say that we have seen a lot of  different momentums in developing the self-driving car while we have all, as an industry, been quite excited a couple of years ago, and have made a bold announcement that how many cars in 2020 will be on the road. So, now it’s 2022, and we can see reality. But now it gained momentum again. I think with also the pioneering work we at Hyundai do together with Aptiv, with our motional joint venture, I think will also be a contribution on how this technology will become reality very soon.

Ed Bernardon: Well, I think that what is engineering of a car is changed. If you go back 80-100 years, it’s all mechanical, then electrical creeped in, and then certainly in the last 10, 20, 25 years or so, software has become key. And now we’re layering on top of all of this, connected vehicle technology that is not only another level of technology but it’s bringing in other players like cities and infrastructure. You really have to engineer all those pieces together to the optimal trade-offs.

Marcus Welz: Absolutely. I think the whole vehicle design, planning, testing has been more and more complex because it’s not only the wire harness system or the mechanical system, but also, as you said, the software and how these different elements play together. while, hopefully, for the user, it always becomes simpler and easier. I think for companies who build it and companies like also Siemens who help OEMs to design and test and engineer the vehicle, we have to manage this increasing complexity and make it look easy for everybody.

Ed Bernardon: Well, listen, Marcus, thank you so much for giving us his vision of what connected vehicles are now, what they’re going to become in the near future and way into the future. Thank you so much for joining us here on the Future Car Podcast.

Marcus Welz: Thank you. It was great talking to you, Ed.

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: What is your greatest talent not related to anything you do at work?

Marcus Welz: I think I can prepare the best tiramisu, north of Italy.

Ed Bernardon: Really? That’s exciting. The best tiramisu comes from a German, not an Italian.

Marcus Welz: I know but I have zero cooking skills, but I can really prepare very nice tiramisu. So, I’m always responsible for the dessert.

Ed Bernardon: Maybe when we have a cooking segment on the Future Car Podcast, we’ll have you describe that recipe, or we can put it in the show notes. Send it to me and I’ll make sure that all our listeners can get it. What do you wish you were better at?

Marcus Welz: I mean, I love to watch people dance and I wish I was more talented than that. And I think my wife would also love to be more put out for dancing then. So, I would love to be better at dancing.

Ed Bernardon: If you could have the answer to any question, what would that question be?

Marcus Welz: I still feel I’m young enough to say that I will figure it out by myself. So, I’m okay if the journey surprises me.

Ed Bernardon: If you could magically invent one thing, snap your fingers and you’d have it, what would that invention be?

Marcus Welz: Probably like many others, I would go to the teleporting machine and I would invent the teleporting machine. You probably know the situation that today is a big day in the office or in school. On all of those days, you’ve overslept, and you’re caught in traffic. So, a teleporting machine could probably in microseconds bring you to the place where you want to be? And like many people, would love to catch most of the sleep we can. So, as a mobility person, moving away from cars and flying taxis. Teleporting machine, this is what I would invent.

Ed Bernardon: I didn’t see that on one of the areas of focus for Hyundai, so maybe that’s a little bit farther down. Next year, when we interview you, you can tell us when that’s coming. If you could un-invent one thing, what would that be? You get rid of it and it’s gone forever.

Marcus Welz: On a serious note, it would probably be an atomic bomb or a nuclear weapon. These are, of course, examples where the creation of technology has been used in a harmful way. So, this is something we should uninvent if we could. But probably the next thing after that would be speed cameras or robocalls or autocorrect. I mean, there are multiple things. Has this ever really helped anyone? I doubt. So, let’s get rid of these things.

Ed Bernardon: And finally, the last question, the easiest one of all the questions is, tell us something about yourself that would surprise your wife, your friends, and your family.

Marcus Welz: I’m an extroverted person and I really enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I don’t know whether this would surprise them, but I think some of them would. Maybe not you, Ed. But I really like to work. I spend almost all my time on a laptop or even on expert blogs, on podcasts. And I see this as a labor of love. I’m okay with working all the time. I’m being a workaholic or whatever you want to call it. I really get what Ryan Holiday means when he writes, “The only time I’m not happy is when I’m not working in some way or another.” So, when I’m just digging around, this is, for me, unhappiness. Fulfilling your potential, I think, should be everybody’s goal. And happiness is, for me, excelling and working as part of life. And working should be fun. And if you’re working in an industry like mobility with this automotive infrastructure, I mean, it’s definitely easy to enjoy what you do.

Ed Bernardon: Marcus, thank you so much. And I hope you enjoyed being on the podcast as much as we’ve enjoyed having you. Thanks again for joining us on 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-2/