My twin brother and I had a favourite game at the end of the 1970s for hours we drove around the house in our Kettcars,” said Uwe Hahne. In their imagination, they were not driving around their parents’ property, but on the way to the Opel factory site. And instead of a Kettcar, they were sitting in an Ascona 400, the sporty Opel of which only 268 were built and which their father, an Opel employee, had driven for a short time as a company car. “The enthusiasm for cars was part of our upbringing,” explained Hahne.
And with childhood memories like that, it’s no wonder that Uwe Hahne really did set off for Opel on his first day at work – it was May 4, 1998. And he was behind the steering wheel of a Kadett E. Two internships had already taken him to the carmaker in Rüsselsheim, and he had also written his diploma thesis here. It was the perfect time for the electrical engineer “with a penchant for computer science” to join the company. Exterior mirrors that can be adjusted at the touch of a button or the electronically controlled ABS that prevents the wheels from locking: More and more electronic components were integrated into cars at the end of the 1990s – with profound consequences for automotive hardware and software as well as development processes.
25 years ago
The photo shows Uwe Hahne in 1998. The data logger (photo above) was not only the subject of his diploma thesis, he was also intensively involved with the functioning of the data recording system during his early days in Rüsselsheim. The screenshot below is from a TV report. The “bench boat” was presented in the programme “Die Automacher”.
“What has always attracted me is that we have always done pioneering work here over all these years – until today.”
Developments and processes that Uwe Hahne helped to shape from now on. “My first task was to develop a diagnostic tool using a data logger,” he recalls. A topic he had already dealt with during his diploma thesis. With the help of the logger, errors can be found if there are problems with the data transfer between the electrical components. In order to exclude such sources of error within the electronic architecture in advance, Uwe Hahne built the so-called “bench boat” together with colleagues. In February 1999, an article about it appeared in the Opel Post with the headline: “No more long wires”. For the first time, digital data buses were used to optimise the interaction and data exchange between the components – even before the first prototype was built on the pilot line.
The way to autonomous parking
The electrical and electronic architecture of the models grew – and with it the complexity. Uwe Hahne was responsible for the development of numerous advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), including the various levels of parking assist up to autonomous parking. Another area of expertise was and is the automatic emergency braking function. As a service designer, he is currently responsible for the functions of the active safety systems. The ADAS specialist’s focus is on automated and highly automated driving.
Patents in series
“What has always attracted me is that we have always done pioneering work here over all these years – until today,” says Uwe Hahne. A fact that is perfectly compatible with his original career aspiration as a child, namely that of an inventor. Over the years, the electronics specialist has filed numerous patents, three of which have gone into series production, including the “method for a staged activation of a collision avoidance system to prevent uncontrollable system interventions”, introduced in 2013/14 for the Astra. And for his 25th company anniversary, the 51-year-old is treating himself to a special trip back in time at the end of June: He will borrow an Opel Kadett E GSi from the Classic Collection to take a trip back to the early days of his time at Opel.
We say: Congratulations and many thanks for the exciting insights into 25 years of Opel!
Are you celebrating your 25th or 40th anniversary soon and would like to share your experiences and memories of the past years with us? Then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write a corresponding note on the declaration of consent for the publication of your jubilee. We look forward to hearing your stories!