Startup Collaboration for a Better Future: 3 Sustainability Projects Porsche is Working On

The complex challenges of the future can only be tackled together. Since 2017, Porsche is a partner of the innovation platform Startup Autobahn that brings together industry-leading companies and young start-ups to jointly drive forward innovative technology solutions for the future of mobilityas sustainable and smart as possible. In this blogpost, Innovation Managers Andy Grau and Christoph Acker introduce three collaborative projects that focus on sustainability.

Mission E, Austria 2018

A Porsche is more than a car — and has meaning far beyond the road. Significance, that also means responsibility. One of the most important issues for the future is without question the state of the planet. At Porsche, sustainability is one of the main pillars of the corporate strategy. We see the topic holistically, beyond the field of mobility. We are not only working on the engine of the future — but we are also increasingly strengthening the open dialogue with stakeholders from politics and business and focus on collaboration with new partners.

For more than three years, we have been partnering with Startup Autobahn, developing and realizing more than 70 innovative solutions and pilot projects together with many startups. The solutions range from moving sensor technology, VR entertainment for passengers or autonomous driving in the workshop, and far beyond.

At this week’s Expo Day 8, Plug and Play awarded a joint project of BASF, Motherson, Circular Tree, and Porsche that enables carbon footprint tracking in the supply chain the Global Innovation Award.

Startup Autobahn innovation award

This is just one great example of projects that aim to create a more sustainable future. Here, we’d like to introduce you to three sustainable collaboration projects:

Circular Tree makes greenhouse gas emissions from supply chains transparent

A company’s supply chain has a major impact on greenhouse gas emissions it generates. The common wish to reduce the own ecological footprint is often thwarted by the complexity of the supply chain, which makes it difficult to implement optimization measures. In cooperation with BASF, Porsche and Motherson, the startup Circular Tree developed a carbon footprint tracking solution that allows basic information to be shared, while confidential data remains encrypted, using advanced and secure blockchain technology. “CarbonBlock” provides companies with “smart contracts”, which make it possible to digitally forward the CO2 emissions of components along the supply chain, in order to quantify a product’s carbon footprint in a standardized way. While suppliers are equipped with a tool that can be easily integrated into any IT system, the company receives all relevant data at the end of the evaluation.

Circular Tree, Motherson, BASF, and Porsche have officially been honored for their sustained, strategic efforts with the Global Innovation Award by the Silicon Valley Tech Center “Plug and Play”.

Natural Fiber Welding uses plants instead of plastic for a leather-like product

Another project we have been working on also with Motherson is the plant-based leather alternative “Mirum” by Natural Fiber Welding. The start-up processes natural agricultural products such as cork powder, a by-product of the wine industry, and coconut fibers into a durable leather which can be used again and again. This enables a circulatory system in which natural fibers are fused together without the use of synthetic adhesives. Unlike many leather alternatives, it is produced without plastic, is competitive in terms of the price and, above all, flexible. Texture, pattern, and color are customizable and can be produced in any size. This impressive collaboration showed that the product of Natural Fiber Welding could fundamentally change not only the fashion industry but also the sustainability of car interiors. Read more about the project here.

ClimaCell and Porsche determine air quality in real-time during route planning

For large cities and conurbations, air quality is more important than ever. Together with ClimaCell, a start-up company specializing in weather forecasts, we have developed a new feature for ROADS. ROADS by Porsche is a free iOS app that is home to a global community of passionate drivers who discover, record, and share the world’s most beautiful driving routes. The new feature uses a traffic light system to inform users about the air quality on their chosen route, in real-time. The ‘Air Quality Index’ (AQI) provides simplified information on the air quality, drawing on data from hundreds of millions of sensors. The information helps drivers to decide whether to close the windows, open the roof or if necessary, postpone the trip.

In the past two and a half years, we have realized more than 70 projects as part of Startup Autobahn. Around one-third of the results are incorporated into series production development today — and the best is that there are more to come. In February, we extended our cooperation with the innovation platform for another three years and are looking forward to building more solutions that contribute to our vision of becoming the most sustainable brand for exclusive and sporty mobility.

Christoph Acker & Andy Grau, Innovation Managers

Christoph Acker and Andy Grau are Innovation Managers at Porsche AG.

About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we’re tackling new challenges, develop digital products and think digital with a focus on the customer. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It’s about our #nextvisions, smart technologies and the people that drive our digital journey. Please follow us on Twitter (Porsche Digital, Next Visions), Instagram (Porsche Digital, Next Visions, Porsche Newsroom) and LinkedIn (Porsche AG, Porsche Digital) for more.



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