Mercedes-Benz: 'We will have to team up with our frenemies'

As 2016 kicks into high gear, Business Insider asked Mercedes-Benz VP of strategy Wilko Andreas Stark to clue us in on what he believes are the major trends that will shape automotive tech this year and in the near future.

Here are the four major trends according to Stark.

1. The development towards E-mobility:

This is driven by new legislation in Europe, the US and in China that puts great pressure on automaker to help alleviate air pollution by mandating stringent CO2 and fuel economy standards.

“We will see a high penetration of plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars,” Stark said.

Although the pure electric and hydrogen powered cars are the hot new thing these days, Stark believes the dominant form of powertrain for the next 10 to 15 years will be the plug-in hybrid.

2. Autonomous Driving is coming:

“We strongly believe we will see fully autonomous cars within the next few years,” Stark said.

3. The connected car will rule the road:

“Vehicles in the future will be embedded in an overall ecosystem because the customer expects when he gets into his car the same functionality as his smart phone,” Stark said.

However to create this ecosystem, Mercedes will have to team up with rival car makers.

“It’s very important that we will have to team up with our frenemies to accomplish this,” he said. “On one hand they are our competitors on the other hand we have to cooperate with them to achieve our goals.”

4. The sharing economy is on the rise:

“With the success of companies such as Uber, we strongly believe sharing will be a major part of how our customers will be using their cars in the future,” Stark said.

“This poses the question to the car makers of whether we want to offer these services ourselves or do we want to offer models tailored for such applications,” he added.

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