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DEKRA invests in safe digitalization

• DEKRA establishes global test network for safe mobility
• Cyber risks require a new way of thinking
• Fatalities caused by autonomous driving a cause for concern

International expert organization DEKRA views cyber security and sophisticated safety technologies as critical in the success of connected and automated driving as long as data are kept safe and secure. In light of this, DEKRA has expanded its position as a global safety expert.

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“Thanks to its numerous benefits, people are prepared to give more and more responsibility to technology”, says Stefan Kölbl, CEO at DEKRA. That is why, in 2017, DEKRA has made investments of 150 million euros towards reinforcing its expertise in digital testing. This helped the company grow for the fourteenth year in a row with revenues attaining more than 3.1 billion euros. With the employee headcount passing 44,000, DEKRA is the largest unlisted company in testing, inspection and certification, doubling its revenues and workforce in the last decade.

The benefits that accompany the digital transformation are undeniable. However, security and safety levels are not keeping up with these rapid paced developments. Kölbl: “We need clear regulations and thorough testing at a global level. Anything else would be playing with not only people’s privacy, but also with their lives.”

To protect human lives, DEKRA is calling for new security standards that meet the challenges of increased connectivity and growing cyber risks for every connected product. The expert organization welcomes the European Commission’s proposed cyber security regulation, but also believes that authorized access to data in connected vehicles is equally important.

International network for safe and secure future of mobility
In 2017, DEKRA gave top priority to setting up an international network for connected, automated and electric driving with locations in Klettwitz (Germany), Málaga (Spain), Arnhem (The Netherlands) and East Asia. Kölbl: “Automation and connectivity are becoming very important for safe mobility. That is why we offer our automotive customers comprehensive testing and development expertise with regards to an autonomous and connected future of mobility”. One example of the company’s services is the eCall emergency call system.

DEKRA’s new test area in Málaga, Spain, opened in November 2017. It focuses on product testing in the early stages of development and the testing of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technologies, as well as standardization requirements. DEKRA's largest laboratory for autonomous and electric mobility services has been located in Hsinchu, Taiwan since early 2017. It plays a key role in expanding the automotive test market in Asia.

Expanding digital testing services
DEKRA has expanded its position through acquisitions and partnerships as well. In 2017, DEKRA acquired cyber security expert Epoche & Espri, which reviews and tests products according to internationally accepted IT security standards. Cyber security is already a key component in the testing of smart products. With the aid of Epoche & Espri, DEKRA can meet additional testing and certification requirements in various markets even better.

Strong and dynamic growth
DEKRA Automotive made a significant contribution to the success of the DEKRA Group in 2017 and strengthened its core business by expanding its inspection stations network in, among others, Portugal, Luxembourg and the USA. With 26 million vehicle inspections per year globally, DEKRA is the world’s market leader. Overall, DEKRA Automotive revenues increased to 1.2 billion euros.

DEKRA Industrial’s strategic decisions have proved right; its revenues climbed by 5.3% to almost 900 million euros in 2017. DEKRA acquired high voltage and high power laboratory VEIKI-VNL in Budapest, Hungary. Kölbl: “A perfect fit for DEKRA, which enhances our position in the power and energy sector”. 2017 also saw the company enter the power plant testing business in the USA through the acquisition of Core Visual Inspection Services in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In its role as thought leader, DEKRA also furthered its innovation partnership with the IAO and IPA Fraunhofer Institutes with the aim to develop innovative occupational health and safety concepts in the age of Industry 4.0 to prevent work accidents when people operate machinery.

Finally, DEKRA Personnel is clearly demonstrating its strong market position and the stable financial situation in Germany and many European countries. Revenues rose significantly by 24.8% to 650 million euros in 2017.

A positive outlook for 2018
DEKRA worked intensively to expand its strong competitive position in fiscal 2017. The company is anticipating a positive business development and a fifteenth consecutive year of growth for 2018.

DEKRA's CEO Stefan Kölbl commented: "DEKRA is helping to shape the digital transformation of the economy and society at the crucial point of interaction with safety. We are assisting in the development of the necessary testing standards and ensuring safety in the digital world through an innovative range of testing and certification services."

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