Making the future cars SAFE and filled with the needed technologies needs SAAB Technologies AB, Picture above from SAAB AB
Once upon a time SAAB was on par or even in front of many competing brands. In the `70ies with the 99 Turbo Saab could strike a blow against BMW, Volvo and others. In a way one could say that cars where not so complicated then. Quite simple electrical systems and lack of what we today take for granted in a premium car. Saab took a big step forward in 1968 with the 99 model a car that more or less lived on through 900 all the way to 1994. That was possible through the great basic engineering that started in 1964 in Trollhättan. Chassis with dual wishbone configuration just like a Formula racer car. Disc brakes all around a sturdy rear axle with a Panhard stabilizing rod. All in all a great wide-shouldered Swede. That was in last millennium. Now mankind has taken giant leaps forward in various technologies, material, computers, communication and more.
A premium car of today must be able to compete with stuff that was unheard of in the old Saab heydays.
For the last 15 years I have been working for the Swedish National Defense Research Agency. I have seen the present and future technologies the great SAAB AB people have developed and has in the pipe for the future. Many of the areas they excel in has products and technologies that can be adopted to a modern car. As I see it the ONLY company that can supply cutting edge technologies for a future SAAB car is SAAB technologies.
Some technology areas where SAAB Technologies AB has great expertise and knowledge:
– Light weight constructions: Carbon fibre and plastics baked in autoclaves. This is crucial technologies for making efficient cars.
– Aerodynamics including active aerodynamic & flow control
– Laser technologies: SAAB AB has this knowledge, in targeting and visualization systems.
– Infrared sensors for making sense of the surrounding.
– Systems-of-Systems datafusion to understand the surrounding making refined information for the driver/pilot to support the decision making.
– Communication systems, between cars (near-field) and other longer range
– Making of specialized secure computer systems in the car.
– Safety systems, theft & burglary.
– Man-Machine-Interaction, making high advanced work environments for super efficient handling of the car, utilizing 3rd generation HUD etc.
– Still there is a lot of companies in Trollhättan with skilled engineers (but for how long)
– Lots of skilled blue-collar technicians in the wider Trollhättan region.
The list cold be made even longer. My botton line is the technologies above and more are crucial if one has the ambition to be competitive on the international car market.
SAAB AB should step in and take control of the “Car Division” again, the development cost will be quite low since many technologies can be take off the shelfs at home so to speak. Making a truly Swedish car with all the latent values that the brand SAAB stands for. A launch of a great car with peak technologies will support the efforts to sell Defense Technology Systems like the 39 Gripen as well.
I hope that SAAB Technologies owners sees the great possibilities in making truly HI-TECH cars, just like the others stuff in their advanced products portfolio.