Having spent his entire career in the automotive sector, Valeo's head of Innovation, Guillaume Devauchelle, is in a perfect position to put the seismic changes underway in the industry into context. He calls what’s happening "a triple revolution in a very disruptive environment." He explained what that means to Automotive News Europe Correspondent Olive Keogh.
You describe what's happening in today's auto industry as a "triple revolution." Why?
First, because we have a big shift toward electricity. Second, we have autonomous driving and connectivity. Third, we have new mobility solutions bringing new business and usage models. Within this new scenario, every single product within the car will need to change. Today, the wipers clean the windshield for the driver. Tomorrow, they may also need to clean a camera, radar or sensor. Today, lighting supports the driver, tomorrow it will have to support autonomous driving. Now, if a pedestrian wants to cross, there is eye contact with the driver. With an autonomous car, the lighting will have to show the pedestrian that it is safe [to cross the street].
Are these changes affecting your whole product lineup?
Yes. We have more than 100 products and have looked at them product by product. We have hardly found a single product that will not change.
Is autonomous driving an evolution or a revolution?
It is a revolution, but it is step by step because it is not about one thing. It is a mix of engineering capability, people's acceptance of the technology and driving culture. Take the evolution of parking assistance systems. First it was a beep, then semi-automatic, then automatic. When the system can get into a space -- and out -- [which is much more difficult], you are ready for semi-autonomous driving at low speeds. But each step is a different story.