During the CES, Audi demonstrated how a self-driven car can, on request, take over the controls in road traffic. It is now up to lawmakers, he said, to formulate legislation governing responsibility and liability for piloted driving. Stadler remained adamant about one thing, however: “For a progressive brand like Audi, the driver will always be able to decide himself when he wants assistance.” Stadler is also convinced that innovative services above and beyond purely car-related services will constitute an important part of a brand’s value added in future: “The car of tomorrow will convey not only passengers but also information,” stressed the Audi boss during his speech at the Handelsblatt Conference.
As assistance functions expand, alongside sensor systems there will be growing emphasis in future on networking the car with its driver, the internet and the infrastructure. Offering comprehensive safety and convenience features as well as tailored internet services, Audi already enjoys a leading role in the premium segment. Customers can benefit from Audi connect, the name given to the bundle of integrated services that result from the intelligent networking of cloud and back-end solutions. These include online traffic updates, Google Earth and Street View, weather, flight and train information plus the integration of social media services such as Facebook and Twitter.
“In every respect, an Audi is the largest mobile device around,” remarked Stadler at the IT managers’ conference. He noted that the time spent by drivers in their vehicles is becoming more and more safe, informative and beneficial in terms of being “used meaningfully”.
Audi has decoupled the hardware in its automobiles, e.g. graphics chips and the multimedia processing unit, from its car development cycles, which span several years. This ensures that these components always keep pace with the fast-moving electronics industry.