For the 12th time, the EXPO DAY of the innovation platform Startup Autobahn powered by Plug and Play took place on 22 June 2023 under the motto “Piloting the Future” at Wagenhallen in Stuttgart. We from magility were able to see live on site which innovations and startups will shape the future.

About Startup Autobahn

In Stuttgart, the cradle of the automobile, over 30 global companies have been working together with innovative technology start-ups from all over the world on Europe’s largest open innovation platform since 2016. The focus is on solutions for the automotive, production, enterprise and sustainability sectors.

About Plug and Play

Plug and Play is a renowned innovation platform that connects startups, corporations, venture capital firms, universities and government agencies. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play has a presence in over 50 locations around the world. The platform offers innovative programmes to companies and supports its corporate partners in all phases of the innovation process, from training to implementation. In addition, Plug and Play has startup accelerator programmes as well as a dedicated venture capital division to drive innovation in various industries. The company has already invested in a variety of successful companies, including Dropbox, Guardant Health, Honey, Lending Club, N26, PayPal and Rappi.

The innovation platform as a link

The Startup Autobahn innovation platform acts as a link between established companies in the sector and up-and-coming technology companies focused on the Stuttgart area. Within this platform, corporate partners and start-ups work together in joint programmes to develop prototypes, evaluate potential collaborations, test new technologies and pave the way for implementation that is as ready for production as possible. The duration of the project work between the start-ups and the established companies is six months.

Various companies have joined this initiative, including, for example:

  • Daimler: As the world’s leading car manufacturer and mobility service provider, Daimler is an important pillar of Startup Autobahn and co-founder. By working closely with startups, Daimler drives innovation in the areas of vehicle technology, connectivity and sustainability.
  • Porsche: As the driving force behind Startup Autobahn, Porsche has already successfully realised 80 projects, with a considerable proportion of the results being incorporated into series development. Porsche is proud to promote innovation and drive new technologies together with startups.
  • University of Stuttgart: As a respected research institution, the University of Stuttgart contributes its expertise in the areas of technology development, mobility concepts and sustainability to the Startup Autobahn programme. The cooperation with startups enables the university to put innovative ideas into practice.
  • Arena 2036: As a research campus for future automotive topics, Arena 2036 is an important partner of Startup Autobahn. Through close cooperation with startups, it works on groundbreaking solutions for the mobility of tomorrow.
  • DXC Technology: As a leading company in the field of digital transformation, DXC Technology supports startups in the development and implementation of innovative technologies. Through close cooperation with DXC, startups gain access to extensive know-how and resources.
  • ZF Friedrichshafen: ZF is a global technology group and one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers. By participating in Startup Autobahn, ZF aims to work with startups to advance new ideas and technologies and shape the future of mobility.
  • Bosch: As a leading global technology and service company, Bosch is a major participant in Startup Autobahn. Bosch contributes its expertise in mobility solutions, sensor technology and software development to develop innovative solutions together with startups.
  • Schaeffler: As a global automotive and industrial supplier, Schaeffler is also an important partner of Startup Autobahn. By collaborating with startups, Schaeffler aims to advance new technologies and solutions in the areas of electromobility, autonomous driving and digital connectivity.
  • BASF: As one of the world’s leading chemical companies, BASF contributes its know-how and innovative strength to the Startup Autobahn programme. Together with startups, new materials, technologies and sustainable solutions for the mobility of the future are being developed.

This group of companies is committed to driving forward promising innovations and helping to shape the mobility of tomorrow.

Expo Day 2023

The Expo Day serves as a platform to present the results of Open Innovation to the public. This year, the invited guests again had numerous opportunities to learn more first-hand about transformative technologies, disruptive solutions and new concepts and collaborations. More than 1,000 invited experts, decision-makers and investors attended this year and were able to get an idea of the hottest topics in the industry during Innovation Walks, Panel Talks and presentations.

At the end of the event, exceptional results of collaboration were honoured on the main stage and recognised with three prestigious awards: the Plug and Play Global Innovation Award, the Plug and Play Cross Collaboration Award and the Plug and Play Sustainability Award. This underlined the success of the collaboration and the contribution to driving innovation in the automotive industry.

The list of speakers at Expo 2023 included the following personalities from the mobility and automotive industry:

  • Barbara Frenkel, Member of the Executive Board for Procurement at Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG.
  • Dr Michael Hafner, Vice President MB.OS Base Layer & MBUX at Mercedes-Benz AG.
  • Jørgen Behrens, Managing Director and VP, Geo Automotive at Google.
  • Mathias Pillin, CTO at Bosch Mobility.
  • Saeed Amidi, CEO and founder of Plug and Play Tech Center.
  • Winfried Hermann, Minister of Transport of the State of Baden-Württemberg.
  • Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economics, Labour and Tourism of the State of Baden-Württemberg.
  • Lars Reger, CTO and EVP at NXP® Semiconductors.
  • Michael Corcoran, President, Global Lead, Analytics & Engineering at DXC Technology.
  • M. Gürcan Karakas, CEO at Togg.
  • Barbara Wittenberg, CTO at 1KOMMA5°.
  • Jan-Maarten de Vries, President Fleet Management Solutions at Bridgestone Mobility Solutions.

Magility Insights

As in previous years, we from magility were live on site, participated in innovation walks, took a closer look at the start-up scene represented there and met many old and new business partners from our network. We noticed that many of the start-ups exhibiting at the Expo presented solutions or partial solutions for the Software Defined Car and battery management. Other topics included smart infrastructure, interiors for the future, supply chain solutions and sustainability.

However, we also noticed that the full potential of AI has not yet been integrated into the business models and technology solutions of the participating start-ups and that start-ups with newly developed AI solutions that promise real leaps in innovation were not present. There were partial AI solutions for production and automation and AI content creation, e.g. for the presentation of seminar content, presented by an avatar that looks almost like the creator and speaks in the AI-animated voice of the creator.

Magility Insights to click through:

We look forward to the next Startup Autobahn Expo with hopefully exciting AI solutions for an innovative and sustainable future! Do you have a startup and need support to enter the market? Or do you have an established company and want to expand or change your business model? Feel free to contact us right here, we are happy to help with our B2B Market Development experts!