Plenary Speaker: Thomas Drescher

Thomas Drescher, Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg (Germany)

Future mobility and the need for digitalization of the development process

Thomas Drescher is Head of Vehicle Technology within Volkswagen Group Research. His current areas of research include CAE-methods, lightweight and structure optimization, intelligent air conditioning, vehicle interior and driving dynamics.


The automotive industry is currently in the process of radical change. As a result, multiple new vehicle and business models require fast and economical simulation methods.

The first part of this presentation will provide an overview of future individual and light freight transportation. Formerly, vehicles were categorized as affordable / luxury, small / large or convenient / sporty. In the future, new technologies such as automatic driving and shared mobility will become important and relevant. As a result, the number of vehicle types and versions will increase dramatically. This new complexity will cause additional product cost and production investment. This will put car manufacturers under pressure to become even more efficient and cost effective in the development process.

The second part of the presentation provides a vision of prototype-free development using examples of new CAE-methods.
The simulation engineer will need to rapidly check a large number of new vehicle models and variations, draw proper conclusions and provide recommendations to the industrial designers and design engineers.

The new resulting vehicle user scenarios will require innovative and novel calculation methods, which do not currently exist. Examples from the areas fluid dynamics (aerodynamics and aeroacoustics), material modeling (crash simulation) and human body modelling for vehicle safety applications will show perspectives for the required future digital development process.

The current physics-based methods need to be enhanced by using AI- and novel computer hardware such as GPUs. A real time simulation environment would enable rapid communication between the industrial designers, design engineers and simulation specialists.  As a result, future decisions will become faster and better.