Clean and intelligent transport has the future
‘Developments are moving lightning fast’, explains Erik van Rijswijk, COO of Sioux Technologies. ‘The automotive industry is undergoing radical changes, not only in terms of the transition to zero-emission. Vehicles are becoming cyber-physical systems – smart, digital, multifunctional, autonomous and connected. At the same time, they increasingly serve smart mobility concepts – e.g. in the field of multimodality and last-mile distribution – which focus on a network of sustainable efficient transport from A to B. All of this requires fundamental futureproof innovations at system level. Especially the addition and integration of software-based intelligence, and therefore also mathware, makes all the difference here. And this is exactly the core of the added value we offer developers and manufacturers of buses, trucks and special vehicles.’
New development pathways
VDL Enabling Transport Solutions (VDL ETS) is one of the pearls of the Dutch automotive sector. The company focuses on researching, engineering, prototyping and testing new technology in fields such as battery- and hydrogen-electric mobility, charging infrastructure and energy storage. Director Menno Kleingeld agrees with Van Rijswijk’s analysis.
‘People have a new belief: clean and intelligent transport has the future. This is a threat to many traditional makes. Taking new development pathways is not easy, especially if you have committed yourself to large-scale investments, like the production of your own combustion engines and the associated competences. On the other hand, it also creates opportunities for innovators like VDL. We are flexible: geared towards innovation, purchasing the best components and rapid manufacturing-to-market. We develop our technology based on five platforms: coaches, buses for public transport, vans, lorries and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). These platforms consisting of hard- and software jointly determine the performance of the vehicles. From an efficiency and quality assurance perspective, the modules are largely interchangeable.’
Great and challenging
People from Sioux are constantly working at VDL ETS, both in-house in Valkenswaard and from their own Sioux Development Centre in Eindhoven. Their activities include working on the control software and HMI architecture of the electric VDL City Bus & Coach product lines and e-trucks. They are also being deployed in projects like the localization and integration of new components.
Van Rijswijk: ‘This requires special expertise. You are using generic components for process-critical applications with state-of-the-art engineering. Among other things, success requires domain-specific knowledge of procedures, technical requirements, interaction within systems and a passion for vehicles, but also competences in the field of agile working, data and computerization…’
‘And it requires a mutual understanding’, emphasizes Kleingeld. ‘Sioux possesses both high-quality generic software and automotive specialists. That is a great strength. But nothing will succeed without the right connection. VDL does business with an open mind and from a human perspective. I can also see this at Sioux and in its people. They have the same interests and the same energy. They are part of our team and can keep up on every level. This allows us to jointly bring innovation to the automotive sector.’