Speech CarIT Congress 2014

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

As an engineer and Board Member for Technical Development, I am committed to our motto of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, which has defined what Audi does for decades now. Today, and in upcoming years, the key priority of the automotive industry will be to shape the future of mobility.

On our way, we are developing products, that are efficient and sustainable, connected and intuitive. We are creating a new dimension of connected reality with high-performance assistance systems, connected infotainment and car-to-car communication. Piloted driving and parking offer considerable gains in terms of traffic safety, driving convenience and efficiency. And this is how we create a sporty, emotional brand experience for our customers – at new levels of premium quality.

The mega-trends of the present are urbanisation, digitalisation and connectivity. Growing urbanisation is one of the drivers for current CO2 regulations. The global population will grow by around 1.2 billion people by 2030. Asia will be the focal point with growth of more than 500 million people. People are increasingly migrating to urban metropolitan regions, and by 2030 it is expected that more than 50 per cent of all people will live in cities. In China alone, over 260 million people will move from the country to the city by 2030. Growth for Shanghai is forecast to be 11 million people, for instance.

The other mega-trends that we see are digitalisation and connectivity. By 2030, there will be 40 per cent more smart phones on the market than today. Even today, 90 per cent of smart phone users never have their phones more than one meter apart from them. And today, customers are already adopting the innovative pace of the consumer electronics industry as a standard for the pace of the automotive industry.

According to experts, customers increasingly look for even more smart phone functionalities in their cars.

This makes the automobile the largest ‘mobile device’. We see another enormous task and responsibility here: Big data – which for us means value-oriented customer management.

On the one hand, our customers expect convenient applications that give them continued access to information, fast processing and customised products and services.

On the other hand, they rightly expect secure and confidential handling of their personal data. We have a clear and unwavering commitment to data protection, and we have established the highest levels of security standards in handling customer and vehicle data. We will not permit any unauthorised access to the operating system of our vehicles. When new services are conceptualised, our data security experts are involved in the process, and they support the entire development phase with security analyses.

Automotive connectivity is becoming increasingly more complex, but for users it is becoming more convenient and more intuitive. That is part of our premium philosophy.

In 2010, we offered the first online services – which included weather, news and traffic information – in the Audi A8. Today, we have a comprehensive range of services for social media platforms, and we are extending them to the compact segment, too. All Audi A3 models are equipped with these services, for example. We are continually making additions to our Audi connect line-up, implementing Car-to-X functions and extending our smart phone integration.

In recent years, we have achieved full on-board connectivity. Back in 1993, we only had a single bus system and five electronic control units in the Audi A8, but in 2010, the numbers were seven buses and more than 100 control units. Now we are seamlessly connecting the car with the Internet, the owner, infrastructure and other cars.

We see three stages of connectivity:

1: Connected infotainment: Driving and staying seamlessly connected with excellent quality.

2: Car-to-X: Our Car-to-Infrastructure services connect the driver with the transportation system, and Car-to-Service connects Audi Customer Service directly to the car.

3: Car-to-Car: Thanks to swarm intelligence, cars are able to communicate with one another.

Allow me to explain this in greater detail:

Stage 1: Connected infotainment: The customer’s individual data cloud creates a seamless transition between work-related and personal media usage with end devices such as navigation, web services and apps. Our Modular Infotainment Platform (MIB) enables innovation cycles which are in line with those of the consumer electronics industry. The MIB combines two main units within a tight space: the´Radio Car Control Unit and the MMX board (MMX = Multi-Media eXtension). Besides integrating RAM and flash memory, the plug-in module also integrates the latest Tegra processor from Nvidia, which processes all of the online, media voice control, navigation and telephone functions. These hardware components can be updated over the course of a car’s product lifecycle.

So, we are actually introducing a paradigm shift within the automotive industry. For years now we have been working together with leading companies in the semiconductor industry along the entire process chain. This is how we have been able to increase our pace of execution and ensure premium quality.

Both are key to successful innovation.

From 2012 to 2016, we increased our computing performance five-fold. At CES 2014 in Las Vegas, we presented the second generation of the MIB. It is now going into production in the new Audi TT*, our most important product highlight of 2014. The T 30 processor from the Tegra 3 series of market leader Nvidia – a four-core chip with a 900 MHz clock speed and a fast graphics processing unit – can drive two displays and execute eight billion computing operations per second. This enables fascinating three-dimensional images, for example.

At CES 2014, we showcased a milestone in smart phone integration: the Audi phone box with wireless charging. This innovation has made wireless charging of mobile devices in the car a reality. By combining a coupling antenna and wireless charging, we are creating optimal synergies for convenient use of mobile devices in the vehicle.

Audi is the world’s first carmaker to develop a fully automotive-compatible tablet. The Audi tablet with its brilliant 10.2-inch HD screen can withstand extreme temperature fluctuations and mechanical shock. It is connected to the vehicle via Wi-Fi interface, and together with Audi connect, it offers Internet access using high-speed LTE. Its core component is the high-performance Nvidia Tegra 40 processor. And so, the car driver as well as passengers may use any kind of tablet-specific applications at any time.

The ultimate highlight of the Audi TT interior is the Audi Virtual Cockpit: It merges the instrument cluster and MMI screen to create one central digital unit. It sets new standards with its dynamic animations and precise graphics. In mid-September, the German magazines “auto motor und sport” and “CHIP” chose the new Audi TT for their “Car Connectivity Award“ – naming it the “best connected automobile in Germany”.

Stage 2: Car-to-X: We are connecting car drivers with the transportation system and making traffic light phases transparent. Over three-fourths of all German car drivers already deem this important today. The system displays the speed at which a driver needs to drive to pass through the next traffic light on a green wave without having to stop. We have already conducted live demonstrations in Las Vegas, Verona and Berlin. We developed this service based on generally accepted technical standards to guarantee a stable connection with traffic control servers. Traffic light info has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 15 per cent.

Other future development opportunities are services that provide transfer points to local public transportation or pre-compute available parking spaces along a road. This would make life much easier. In some cities today, roving vehicles looking for parking spaces already represent one-third of vehicle traffic.

Stage 3: Swarm intelligence and Car-to-Car: Cars will be warning one another of hazards such as obstacles, accident sites or glare ice. 90 per cent of German car drivers already consider this functionality to be very important. Intelligent cars could help to save time and minimise risks.

Today’s assistance systems have the potential to navigate, guide and stabilise the car and the driver. This is particularly relevant in urban traffic situations with multi-tasking. Also, this is where our responsibility and job lies: Driving assistance systems and technologies such as piloted driving and parking can reduce stress, take on guidance and warning roles, make corrective actions in driving operation and assume driving tasks in special or emergency situations.

Just a few weeks ago, in California, we were the first company to be granted approval to test piloted driving on public roads. Now we can begin to test our technology platforms on the highways of the Golden State. That is significant progress for vehicle testing under real conditions, and it is close to the Audi Electronics Research Lab (ERL) in Belmont, CA.

Swarm intelligence will help piloted driving achieve a breakthrough. In addition to the sensor data that is generated in the car, information also comes from the infrastructure and other traffic participants.

Our conclusion: The car is increasingly becoming a ‘mobile device’ on four wheels. Connectivity is the key to the car of the future, which makes it an integral part of our premium mobility product line-up.

We have taken piloted driving and parking to production maturity, and we will be the first to introduce it to the market. Once again, we are demonstrating our power in technical innovation and ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ as the DNA of our brand.

And there is much more to come along the pipeline. You can expect a lot from us – both today and in the future.

Thank you very much.

Fuel consumption figures for the named models

Audi TT:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.5 – 4.2
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 174 – 110