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Digital Transformation of System Performance Development by a Flexible Digital Thread

Digital Transformation of System Performance Development by a Flexible Digital Thread

Ernesto Mottola

Senior Manager - Strategy Planning and Digitalisation

Toyota Motor Europe

(This has been a keynote presentation at the NAFEMS World Congress 2023.)

Automotive industry challenges with new CASE requirements and the need for an integrated development approach.

Automotive development needs to satisfy an ever-increasing number of conflicting requirements in a market quickly evolving by demand for CASE (Connected Autonomous Shared Electrified). Specialists from different engineering backgrounds have traditionally dealt with this using standardised methods developed in each domain over the years, but they are now faced with the challenges arising from the increasing complexity of products and services, which become more and more integrated in a system of systems environment.

On the one hand, we face the need to shorten development lead time to catch these trends and to respond to the competition from new entrants to the market. On the other hand, we need to facilitate collaboration among the engineers involved in the development of mechatronics systems with increasing functions and interfaces.

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) approach

Toyota Production System (TPS) as a driver for digital transformation

Toyota’s philosophy to continuously improve working processes towards quality and efficiency traditionally comes from manufacturing and is based on the principles of automation and “just in time”.Those principles, widely known as the “Toyota Production System”, apply perfectly as drivers for digital transformation and improving collaboration.

Toyota Motor Europe has been implementing digital transformation initiatives based on those principles, starting with Model Based Development (MBD), which envisions the holistic development of the vehicle and its subsystems by the coherent application of simulation.

The flexible digital thread as a foundation for digital transformation.

The “continuous” nature of the TPS approach demands that the foundation for digital transformation should be flexible enough to support process improvements which are never finished. TME has developed an approach where data can be managed flexibly enough to grow the scope of digital processes, and the related parties that can benefit from it.

TME use cases, from EDM to SPDM, towards simulation supported effective development.

In the past, we have shown example cases of engineering data management and automated generation of simulation models for system performance development; in this presentation, we provide an overview of the vision and the latest updates on how the same foundation supports the implementation of a system centric simulation process, data management, and ultimately improving the effectiveness of simulation-based performance development.

Ernesto Mottola is an engineering manager with a PhD background in structural mechanics and CAE, and a relevant track record in digitalisation. He leads a multicultural team of talented professionals in charge of analysing and designing the development processes of tomorrow, optimising resources, and supporting the transition of TME from a vehicle manufacturing company to a mobility company.

Our mission:

  • Engage with R&D stakeholders to understand their working practices and needs, identify prioritised improvement areas and potential for synergies
  • Continuously develop and deploy innovative digital solutions to eliminate low-value jobs and increase quality, based on Toyota Production System principles
  • Align the engineering organization along a common vision and technical strategy.

Course of study (University, Specialisation, Final year)

University of Rome „Tor Vergata“, Mechanical Engineering, 2002

Doctorate (University, Topic, Year)

University of Rome „Tor Vergata“, Mechanical Engineering, 2006

Key career events

2007 – Hired by Toyota Motor Europe as the first simulation specialist in local R&D Technical Center.

2012 – Started structural body development team in Toyota European R&D; developed the team and negotiated local vehicle development responsibility; initial passenger car programme achieved 5★ EuroNCAP with first application in Toyota of new protocol.

2015 – Started Model Based Development team in Toyota European R&D; developed the team and the methodology; successfully completed first vehicle project with new development approach, replacing early prototype with virtual prototype for dynamic performance development.

2020 – Developed a novel approach for system-centric engineering data management and deployed to a vehicle development project; this approach became the new direction for digitalisation in Toyota European R&D

2023 – In charge of R&D Strategy planning and digitalisation team

Document Details

AuthorMottola. E
TypePresentation Recording
Date 16th May 2023
OrganisationToyota Motor


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