ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab has played host to the global online ‘COVID Mobility Race’ hackathon. The theme of this year’s ideas competition, which took place from 4 to 7 June 2020, set the tone: the event was dedicated to the current challenges facing the automotive industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. How can a vehicle be bought and delivered whilst following stringent social distancing measures? What options are there for car buyers to virtually view their dream car? And what role will digital mobility services play in the future? 52 teams from 19 countries came up with surprising and innovative answers to these questions. The Israeli team from high-tech company Matter beat its competitors with 3D virtual showroom technology and will now be supported by ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab. Furthermore, the team members have the chance of collaboration with the Czech car manufacturer’s innovation lab.
All around the globe, the past few weeks and months have been marked by measures taken to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further. Of course, this also affected the automotive industry and in particular car dealerships. The ‘COVID Mobility Race’ hackathon organised by ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab and ŠKODA AUTO therefore asked the question of how innovative concepts can be integrated into everyday working life and how these can benefit ŠKODA and its worldwide sales and service network.
Andre Wehner, ŠKODA AUTO Chief Digital Officer, stated, “The current situation has shown that many areas of our lives, both on a private as well as a professional level, can be carried out much more digitally. For us, the current crisis therefore also presents an opportunity. We would like to make the most of what we have just learned and make use of the existing technical possibilities in order to cater to the needs of our customers even more specifically. This year’s international online hackathon has delivered exciting new approaches and innovative concepts. And the participants’ response has demonstrated that the potential is far from exhausted.”
IT teams and high-tech companies from all over the world took part in ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab’s international hackathon, including teams from Europe as well as from China, India and Israel, where the DigiLab spin-offs are based. ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab awarded a separate winner for a special category dedicated to IT solutions for the Indian market. There was also a special focus on the IT hotspot Israel: ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Israel Ltd supported the tech companies from Tel Aviv throughout the competition.
For four days and nights, the teams programmed, discussed and optimised their proposals. The spectrum of projects ranged from online viewing of new and used vehicles, innovative disinfection options, shared mobility, logistics and infrastructure concepts, to new business models in relation to social distancing. The panel of experts including ŠKODA AUTO Chief Digital Officer, Andre Wehner, and ŠKODA AUTO DigiLabs’ Managing Director, Jarmila Plachá, as well as other specialists voted Israeli company Matter’s project on a virtual showroom to be the best from the ‘COVID Mobility Race’. They favoured this concept as it is interactive, can be presented very realistically and can be implemented flexibly. The victorious team will now be supported by ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab, enabling them to further develop their project. Furthermore, ŠKODA AUTO will investigate whether and how the project can be put into practice.
This year’s event was ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab’s fourth hackathon. Since its debut in 2017, the ideas competition has also attracted a great deal of attention in the tech and IT start-up scene because of the exciting and innovative contributions the teams have made, presenting ŠKODA AUTO as an attractive employer for young IT talent.