Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Press Conference, International CES, Las Vegas, Jan 7, 2014 – Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, innovation is an incremental part of the Audi success story. It’s our DNA.

For more than 30 years, Audi has been leading the automotive industry. For almost three decades, I have been closely related with Audi. As an engineer, I am strictly committed to the mission of our company: “Vorsprung durch Technik”. And it was only in 2013 that the MIT named Audi one of the 50 most disruptive companies of the world in terms of innovation.

And that is what we will show you today.

2013, in general, has been very successful for Audi:

  • in terms of sales,
  • in terms of products,
  • in terms of motorsports.

For the first time ever, we delivered more than 1.5 million cars to our customers in one year.

With that, we over-achieved a strategic milestone on our roadmap to become the world’s leading premium manufacturer.

In 2013, we had 15 market introductions including seven new Audi S and Audi RS models as well as the Audi R8 and the new Audi A8. All of them will drive our success story even further. In 2013, we also enriched our most successful Audi A3 family with a new sedan and a cabrio coming to the US in summer 2014.

2013 has been one of the most successful years in our motorsport history – with our victory of the World Endurance Championship and the double-win of the DTM, a best-established racing series in Europe, Russia and China. That’s very motivating for the upcoming season.

When we look into the innovative products of 2014 and beyond, we are very confident about the progress we will make. We have just announced to surpass the number of 60 models by 2020.

Just as one example, think about the Audi A3 e-tron we bring to the market in 2014.

It’s a powerful combination of electric car and plug-in hybrid, with excellent efficiency levels and uncompromised driving pleasure.

Until 2018, we will implement the largest investment program in the history of the company.

Approximately 22 billion Euros which is equivalent to more than 30 billion US Dollars. We will invest in new technologies, new products, new RD and production sites to further extend our global footprint.

Innovation continues to be our guideline. Audi is about refining cars. Making cars safer, more convenient, more connected and more efficient. That is our mission and that is  my responsibility as Chief Technical Officer.

And we go even further: Audi is about redefining mobility. We set the pace for the future of mobility, a mobility that will be more connected than ever. 90 percent of all innovation in automotive engineering is based on electrics and electronics. Just think about the incredible number of semiconductor devices in our Audi A8. Performance and technical complexity are increasing at fast pace. So do usability and customer friendliness.

The more connected cars become, the more connected we need to be. In our global RD team, we work closely with the electronics industry. We are very pleased about the additional opportunities the new Open Automotive Alliance will offer. Starting in 2014, we will work with Google and NVIDIA and bring their expertise on mobile devices to our cars.

For efficient engineering and flexible production, we leverage our modular matrix system, to the benefit of our customers. Once a next-generation hardware component becomes available, it will be easy to upgrade the modular infotainment system right away.

At the Audi booth here, you may experience the most advanced megatrends in automotive:

  • Lighting,
  • Connectivity,
  • Infotainment,
  • Human Machine Interface and
  • Piloted driving.

We cover all of these five megatrends to shape the future of mobility. And our exhibits perfectly reflect them. We familiarize you with the game-changing interior of the next-generation Audi TT. It is actually a world premiere. The new TT is the third generation of our successful compact sports car. As an engineer, I take pride in the previous TT generations my team and I brought to the streets. And we are very confident about the success of this new car.

For many years, Audi has been THE benchmark for human machine interface systems. For the new TT, we redefined this concept. We call it the virtual cockpit and combined the multi media interface monitor with the cockpit. This allows for a slim design of the instruments board.

In other words: this is lightweight construction in the interior.

The virtual cockpit is fully digital and optimally driver-focused. It’s an operating tool that is very easy to handle. It offers extended safety and comfort features, enhanced system performance and brilliant graphics.

Once again, Audi is leading the industry with bringing advanced chip technologies to the automobile. The new Audi TT with its virtual cockpit will become available later this year. Watch out for more news to come.

The second exhibit at the booth supports this approach, too. The lights of the Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept, another world premiere here at CES. For many years, Audi has been leading the automotive industry in terms of lighting technology. Laser light marks another step forward in lighting technology. In the past, cars used xenon lights and LED daytime lights.

In 2007, Audi became the first to supply all-LED headlamps. In 2013, we introduced interactive Matrix LED headlamps for the Audi A8 sedan. They handle almost one billion of different light scenarios. Thanks to smart electronic management, the light beams don’t blind or dazzle oncoming drivers. Looking forward, Matrix LEDs will become available to even more Audi models and more countries including the US.

At present, we identify a trend to smaller light sources with improved brightness and greater range. And that is why we see the future in laser light. It is even sharper, safer and more efficient. It has the potential to further enhance LED lights. The Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept features headlamps that are three times stronger than LEDs. Its light beam extends the length of five football fields. Thanks to our efficient technology transfer, we will be the first car brand to put laser light into production. And even before, you will see it on the racetracks.

In April, our next-generation R18 e-tron quattro race car will have its premiere in Silverstone.

Many other world endurance championship races will follow in 2014, including the famous 24 hours of Le Mans in June. With 2013 being one of the most successful motorsport years in the history of Audi, we are 100 percent committed to defend our World Endurance Championship trophy.

As an exclusive preview, we show you some details of the R18 e-tron quattro prototype here at CES. This prototype makes us well positioned for success. It’s a masterpiece of lightweight construction. It comes along with a highly complex drivetrain system and an efficient hybrid supported by an e-booster.

In addition, a comprehensive set of driving assistance services will support the driver and the Audi team. This kind of advanced connectivity is critical for any kind of challenging situations during a race. Professional drivers who are trained for any kind of traffic situation would never go without.

Motorsports have always been a great testing environment for new technologies – and so it will be in 2014. While the extremes of a racetrack are very different from daily commuting, there is an increasing number of situations where Audi connectivity solutions will become essential.

That is a brief overview of how we translate the legacy of Audi engineering into the megatrends of future mobility. For a more detailed insight on how we match German engineering and Silicon Valley brainpower, I would like to turn it over to Ricky Hudi, Head of Development for Electrics and Electronics at Audi.