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VW and Daimler: Cooperation with Elon Musk’s Starlink?

Daimler boss Ola Källenius.

Daimler boss Ola Källenius.

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Technological progress in the auto industry is reaching new heights. The cabins of the latest car models often resemble the on-board control center of a spaceship and are no longer just a steering wheel and dashboard. Most recently it was said that Volkswagen is planning for the future and would like to connect its autonomous cars to the Internet via satellite.

“Connectivity is a very crucial point in autonomous driving – and the question: How do I ensure connectivity everywhere? The satellite is a tried and tested tool for most areas of application, ”said VW strategy chief Michael Jost in an interview with“ Wirtschaftswoche ”. Daimler is also showing interest: “We are working intensively on the development of technology for the satellite Internet in order to evaluate its possible use in vehicles,” a spokeswoman told Wirtschaftswoche. However, there are still many framework conditions to be clarified, such as the integration of the technology into the vehicles.

A possible partner would also be the space company SpaceX, as the “Wirtschaftswoche” reports. Volkswagen is currently reviewing a collaboration with the company owned by Tesla founder Elon Musk. The Starlink subsidiary also belongs to SpaceX. The company has already put almost 1,000 of 4,400 planned satellites into orbit and would like to use it to offer high-speed Internet around the world.

German space startups are planning a consortium

Starlink isn’t the only option for the Wolfsburg-based company, however. Volkswagen could also help set up a European internet satellite system among German startups. According to information from “Wirtschaftswoche”, a consortium would like to be formed in which startups such as the German rocket manufacturer Isar Aerospace also participate. Volkswagen is to be won as a partner and sponsor in order to realize the plan for the private-sector provision of internet satellites in space. VW boss Herbert Diess only visited Isar Aerospace at the company’s headquarters on the outskirts of Munich just before Christmas.

Either way: Internet satellites are among the most promising solutions for providing high-speed Internet in all regions. The satellites also mean that there is no need to install radio masts in the country, which residents often defend themselves against.

Starlink would like to start its service in Germany this year. The first tests have therefore already been successful. However, the costs are still comparatively high. Currently 99 euros per month have to be paid for the internet service from space. A one-time fee of 499 euros is required for the hardware kit required.

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