Skoda has founded another spin-off of its innovation workshop in Beijing, called Skoda Auto DigiLab China, which is networking with the local start-up community to collaborate on projects. Here, the focus is on mobility of the future, digitalisation as well as the development and implementation of new business models.

Skoda Auto CEO, Bernhard Maier, said, “Our two DigiLabs are now firmly established in the start-up community both in Prague and in Tel Aviv. China is one of the world’s drivers of innovation when it comes to digitalisation. It’s therefore only logical for us to now develop the next spin-off – Skoda Auto DigiLab China – to gain direct access to important future technologies there too.”

President of Skoda China, Dr Ralf Hanschen, added, “With our new Skoda Auto DigiLab China, we are bringing our digital business and the next generation of mobility services into the local market. As the youngest member of a growing global innovation network, the innovation centre will develop mobility solutions and services for China, Europe and the rest of the world in future.”

Having set up the new Skoda Auto DigiLab China, the car manufacturer now also has a platform in its largest single market in the world for developing new digital services and mobility solutions together with top local start-ups and creative talent. The first of the three centres, the Skoda Auto DigiLab in Prague, was set up in early 2017; in January 2018, a spin-off commenced operation in the Israeli IT hotspot of Tel Aviv – as a joint venture with the Israeli importer Champion Motors. Since the launch of its two innovation workshops, Skoda has sustainably strengthened its digital development and innovation expertise.

Over the course of this year, exciting projects are set to begin at Skoda Auto DigiLab China, including an In-Car Delivery service that enables goods to be delivered directly to the customer’s boot of the car. The team at Skoda Auto DigiLab China is in intensive talks with potential delivery service partners to begin testing and pilot projects.

Another project is the ‘CareDriver’ service for patients who require assistance with transport. Specially trained drivers are to offer a door-to-door service in a Skoda Kodiaq or Superb to fill gaps in the supply of transport for patients with mild disabilities, and, at the same time, cater to the desire of private hospitals to make their patients’ journey to the hospital more convenient and less stressful.

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At the end of March, the first hackathon organised by Skoda China ‘Clever mobility services for a better life’ came to an end in Beijing. A total of 88 participants competed against one another in various categories at the two-day event, which was held in collaboration with the innovation platform and start-up incubator Innoway. Innoway is in the direct vicinity of some of the country’s most prestigious universities – in the centre of Beijing’s Silicon Valley, Zhongguancun – and is an ideal partner for Skoda in the implementation of its strategic plans there.

Across more than 40 projects, the Skoda Auto DigiLabs address topics such as sharing economy, mobility services, digitalisation, connectivity and e-mobility. A wide spectrum is covered, ranging from the development of new ideas and concepts for optimising traffic flow to micromobility solutions for the city.