Audi Urban Future Initiative at the International CES electronics fair

By means of an interactive exhibit in the form of a futuristic city model, the
Audi Urban Future Initiative highlights the needs of commuters in large cities. The facts behind it come from the City Dossier Boston, a research project by Audi and the architecture office Höweler + Yoon, winners of the Audi Urban Future Award 2012. The results can be applied to other large cities, too. Specifically, the team of the Initiative analyzed bottlenecks in the traffic network and derived visionary solutions from its findings. Visitors to CES can adopt the perspective of three representative types of commuter and experience how technologies can give the Road Warrior, the Straphanger and the Reverse Commuter access to smoothly operating mobility in the future.

The Road Warrior lives in a suburb and commutes by car to a workplace in the city center. On arrival there, the time-consuming search for a parking space begins. The CES exhibit demonstrates, for example, the added value of piloted parking for this type of commuter: The car is left in front of a parking garage and the driver starts the process of parking using a smartphone. While the Road Warrior is already walking the last yards to the office, the cars parks itself autonomously – at a minimum distance to the other vehicles, as the driver’s door can now remain closed. Equally, a safety margin in the distance to other parked cars is also superfluous. The city, too, benefits from this technology, as the efficient handling of parking places creates free space that can be greened, for example.

The Straphanger also lives outside the city and commutes into the center. For the journey, Straphangers use several means of transport, which are scheduled in minute detail: First they go by car to a park ride area, where they change to public transportation. The last part of the route is covered on foot. The interfaces between these different steps have to interconnect seamlessly. For this kind of commuter, maximum comfort is the decisive element. Today already, Audi drivers can see bus and train connections in the surrounding area on a display via Audi connect.

The Reverse Commuter lives in the city center and travels to work outside it – against the flow and usually without hold-ups. In the evening, close to home in the inner city, things get difficult. Tired out by traffic lights and rush-hour traffic, Reverse Commuters begin their daily search for somewhere to park in the evening. The car manufacturer Audi is working on, for example, ways of taking the strain off the driver in stressful situations like this: Piloted driving in city traffic would allow the automobile to navigate the streets on its own. This is an exciting prospect, and only one of many taken from the CES exhibit. Thanks to films and visualizations, visitors to CES can see how future technologies such as those from Audi’s preliminary development projects can have a sustained influence on urban mobility.

“Across the globe, cities are growing extremely rapidly. Our technologies can make a contribution to meeting the requirements of mobility in megacities. Audi connect, Car-to-X, piloted parking and piloted driving are just a few of the forward-looking solutions where we are pressing ahead with the networking of the automobile and the city. I am convinced that in future even more than today, the car will enter into an intelligent relationship with the city,” says Rupert Stadler, chairman of the executive board of AUDI AG.

The Audi Urban Future Award promotes a dialog with experts and researchers in the fields of urban planning, architecture and urbanism, and provides new impulses for the debate about mobility in cities of the future. From 16 December 2013 to 5 January 2014, interested persons could vote online to choose the US team for the Audi Urban Future Award 2014. The question posed by the competition for the Award is: How far can data serve as planning tools for urban mobility? On the evening before the International CES, Professor Rupert Stadler announced the winners Philip Parsons, urban planner and founder of Sasaki Strategies, and Federico Parolotto, mobility expert and principal of Mobility in Chain and their proposals (read more at Thus the first of four contributions to the Audi Urban Future Award 2014 has now been established.

The Audi Urban Future Award is held every two years, in 2014 for the third time. The competition began in 2010 with visionary proposals for urban mobility. The Award 2012 showed mobility scenarios in five metropolitan regions worldwide. With the aim of making the Initiative even more specific, the Award 2014 turns its attention to feasibility studies in the framework of existing urban planning projects. In October 2014 Audi will present the Audi Urban Future Award and prize money of 100,000 euros for the best proposals.