The european vehicle industry is linking up.

The Mercedes-Benz AG and some of the leading players of the vehicle industry are joining forces to form a european partner network: „Catena-X“, the former Automotive Alliance, should enable a secure and cross-company wide data exchange of all participants of the automotive value chain.

As part of the event „Durch Kooperation an die Spitze. Die Automobilbranche gestaltet den digitalen Wandel“ (“Through cooperation to the top. The automotive industry is shaping the digital transformation”) hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) the founders of the Automotive Alliance are sharing a progress report as well as further details on the initiative.

In the future the group will operate under the name “Catena-X Automotive Network (Catena-X)”. As an implementation-oriented network and to ensure openness and neutrality, Catena-X plans to organise itself as a registered association in Germany. Catena-X sees itself as an extensible ecosystem in which automotive manufacturers and suppliers, dealer associations and equipment suppliers, including the providers of applications, platforms and infrastructure, can all participate equally. Among the members are Robert Bosch GmbH, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Deutsche Telekom AG as well as several small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). The purpose of the association is to create a uniform standard for information and data-sharing throughout the entire automotive value chain.

The companies involved want to increase the automotive industry’s competitiveness, improve efficiency through industry-specific cooperation and accelerate company processes through standardization and access to information and data. A special focus is also on SMEs, whose active participation is of central importance for the network’s success. That is why Catena-X has been conceived from the outset as an open network with solutions ready for SMEs, where these companies will be able to participate quickly and with little IT infrastructure investment.

Moreover, the European automotive industry’s existing structures, such as processes in the field of parts logistics, are to be integrated into the network and further optimised. Alongside the benefits of greater efficiency in the supply chain, the network participants expect more efficient quality and logistics processes, greater transparency in terms of sustainably reduced CO2 emissions, and simplified master data management.

First measures

Continuously connected data chains in this way make it possible to create digital twins of automobiles, on the basis of which innovative business processes and service offerings can be developed. With the International Data Spaces (IDS) standard for data sovereignty, which also lays the foundation for the European cloud data infrastructure GAIA-X, the companies involved have already agreed on essential infrastructure foundations for project implementation.

In the first phase, the Catena-X pilot projects are focused on five areas of application which have been jointly defined. With the help of a networked data infrastructure, these application areas can significantly help to boost productivity and improve sustainability along future value chains. The five areas are quality management, logistics, maintenance, supply chain management and sustainability. Applications supporting production and development are planned for future phases.

The data network will create an important starting point for the industry to respond more efficiently to the challenges of digital transformation and to make better use of the opportunities offered by digitalisation.

Updates on future developments: Catena-X via LinkedIn

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