Cars in 2050 – smart, networked and autonomous

Interview with Claus Reiter about his vision of traffic of the future, on-board network requirements and the role of MD ELEKTRONIK.

In 2050, traffic will still exist just like today, but it will be slightly different.

As part of the “yourmdexpertise” series, we talk to MD ELEKTRONIK experts about current and future topics in the automotive sector. In this edition of our TechTalk, we met up with Claus, Key Account Manager at MD, and asked him what he thinks cars will look like in 2050, what the consequences will be for the development of on-board networks, and what MD is doing to prepare for this.

Claus, please tell us a bit about yourself, both personally and professionally.

As a young boy, I was passionate about cars, so it was quite natural for me to also pursue this area professionally.

Following my engineering studies, which focused on automotive engineering at Landshut University of Applied Sciences, I worked as a development engineer for an automotive supplier, where I had the chance, not only to witness the latest OEM developments firsthand, but also to shape them. Another very interesting experience for me was moving from Development to Sales, one decade ago, where I also got to know more about the commercial side of things. As a father to a son who just started school, you see the world in a completely different light and also look forward to future developments. 

With over 25 years’ professional experience, I have a broad range of knowledge of the automotive industry both past and present, and I am looking forward to the exciting journey ahead into the future. 

Let’s start by asking: what do you personally think that road traffic and a typical car will look like in 2050?

People will not want individual mobility taken away from them, so traffic in 2050 will still exist like it does today, but it will be slightly different.

After all, the earth is not getting any bigger and the roads will not be continuously adjusted to the increasing volumes of traffic. More and more attention is being paid to sustainability and to protecting our planet as there’s no such thing as “Planet B”. So, we are being forced to make “smart” use of our resources.

In the future, optimized, networked driving will move increasingly into the foreground.

Just like trains, cars will hook up with major highways and travel in a connected and autonomous way. In principle, there will be two types of vehicle class: town and country.

This will mean that the interior design of vehicles will become increasingly important as the “self-driving” function disappears into the background. We will have more time for other things, just like when traveling by train or plane. In principle, displays will get bigger and entire window areas will also become a display either for watching 360° films or for merging virtual worlds with reality.

You’ll be able to look out of the windscreen and at the same time, you’ll be able to see all the information through VR glasses (e.g. restaurant opening times, menus and the ability to directly book a table).

What’s more, the interior space will increasingly become an oasis of well-being, not just in terms of the seats (massage, cooling, heating, etc.), but there will also be ambient lighting. Scents and the “sound of silence” experience will play an increasingly important role.

I can also imagine that cars will take care of valet parking themselves, giving us more time to get to our meeting, be it private or professional. It is even conceivable that a car could travel by itself to the loading areas of large stores, pick up the pre-paid shopping and bring it back to the parking lot.

What are the consequences of this for the area of on-board networks?

The demand for on-board networks will increase dramatically as more and more complex features will need to be implemented.

Autonomous driving will also lead to a drastic increase in the number of sensors required (distance, lane keeping, parking, etc.). In particular, external communication, e.g.: car-to-traffic light and car-to-car communication requires high data transmission rates and a correspondingly fast processing of this information.

Innovations in interior design will also demand an increase in the number of data cables required.

With the emergence of control units for zonal architecture, the expected requirements are already being met in this area.

In your opinion, what role will MD play in this market?

For MD ELEKTRONIK, the above-mentioned requirements offer good economic prospects, associated with the challenge of creating appropriate capacities and know-how.

Increasingly automated assembly on production systems that we have designed and built ourselves form the basis for this. Substantial investments in development work, and global exchanges with leading companies in the industry will create the skills we need for the future. 

MD has been a valued technology partner of the automotive industry for 3 decades now, and this knowledge, commitment to partnership, and reliability are demonstrated on a daily basis.

Thank you so much, Claus, for this great interview!

High-performance and enormously reliable data connections are the backbone of all development described above. MD ELEKTRONIK is leading the way in these technologies, and is driving these developments forward in cooperation with an international network of experts.

Contact MD now to find out more about the upcoming developments!


Claus Reiter

Claus Reiter is Key Account Manager for the International Sales Team at MD. His role is to serve and expand MD as a supplier and business partner for “smart solutions” in southern Europe. More than 25 years’ experience in the automotive sector have made him an expert in his field. It is always a matter of mastering the balance between the interests of MD ELEKTRONIK and the demands of the customer. In addition to close contact with customers and working with a global team, what he appreciates most about his job are the intercultural aspects.