Collaboration with startups helps Webasto combine know-how and experience with ideas from outside. The company is presenting several joint projects at EXPO Day 10 of the “Startup Autobahn” innovation platform

Tradition and decades of expertise paired with groundbreaking ideas of tomorrow: At the tenth edition of the EXPO Day of “Startup Autobahn” (July 21 to 23), Webasto, system partner of almost all car manufacturers, will present the innovations from the product development sector created in cooperation with several startups.

This year, the focus is on the collaboration with designLED. Founded in Scotland in 2004, the company develops thin and flexible LED lighting and smart surface solutions for the automotive industry. The aim of the cooperation with Webasto was to integrate dynamic lighting options in the roof to increase comfort for end customers, among other things. The prototype of a convertible roof element with light tiles was finally completed in May 2021. The lighting concept with translucent surfaces can not only be used in convertibles, but could also be used in sunroofs.

Another exciting collaboration resulted from the Startup Autobahn project with Textia Solutions from Spain. Textia develops products and solutions in the field of vacuum technology and has a patented material technology that enables an intelligent textile that becomes flexible or rigid depending on the vacuum applied. Originally developed for applications in emergency medicine, there are potential uses for Webasto in the roof area. To this end, a Textia sample was installed in a convertible fabric roof. With the help of the technology, the stiffness of the fabric composite can be increased while maintaining foldability.

Impetus for further development

Webasto has been a partner of “Startup Autobahn” since fall 2017. The innovation platform was founded by the U.S. Plug and Play Tech Center, Daimler and the University of Stuttgart and aims to promote collaboration between industrial companies and startups. The main focus is on mobility and digitalization. In 2019, Webasto received Plug and Play’s Corporate Innovation Award for its strong commitment to the network. To date, Webasto has already initiated around 50 pilot projects with startups. Around ten of the solutions are currently being implemented and eight are already in use.

“Collaboration with startups provides Webasto with important ideas. Be it for further developments in the product area or with regard to the optimization of processes. The impulses we receive from the young companies help us to further expand our leading position as a global innovative system partner to the automotive industry,” says Matthias Arleth, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and responsible for technology topics at the Webasto Group.

SOURCE: Webasto



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