First Audi Summit in Barcelona: world premieres underscore the Four Ring’s Vorsprung
- New top model Audi A8 is the star of a major brand event in Barcelona
- Audi AI: artificial intelligence enriches products and services
- Audi CEO Stadler: “Vorsprung is our promise.”
At the first Audi Summit this Tuesday, the premium brand is presenting innovations along its path to becoming the premium digital car company. Barcelona is the venue for an exclusive brand event at which 2,000 guests from all over the world will experience the premiere of the new Audi A8 and other technological milestones from the brand with the Four Rings. The brand’s exhibition showcases new concepts for individual mobility in the digital age, with topics of the future such as sustainable manufacturing, lightweight construction, connectivity, piloted driving and digital services.
During the one-hour product presentation of approximately 70 automobiles, the new Audi A8 is the star. The Audi flagship is now in its fourth generation; its design language represents the new face of the brand and its onboard technology is pioneering, making Audi the world’s first premium manufacturer with a fully electrified model series. The mild hybrid with its 48-volt main electrical system allows coasting with its engine switched off and drivetrain decoupled, an extended start-stop mode and a high level of brake-energy recuperation. And the Audi A8 is the world’s first series-produced car developed for highly automated driving. In traffic jams on the highway, it can take over control at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour, while the driver can be otherwise occupied.
At the premiere of the Audi Summit, the company is also presenting its Audi AI technology. The Audi AI trademark stands for concepts such as autonomy, intelligence and innovation. Audi AI will make its occupants’ lives easier and journeys safer among other things with the aid of artificial intelligence. The Audi of the future will continually learn and develop its capabilities, while the technology adapts to people’s individual needs. Audi AI will also suggest appropriate services and books them if desired by its passengers, like a concierge. “Vorsprung is our promise. Audi AI supports the driver, thinks with and for him, and increases his independence,” emphasizes Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, in his keynote. “In a self-driving car, premium will be seen as how I can use my time best and most efficiently. With our products, we will ensure that this is possible, irrespective of whether I want to relax or be productive, or whether I want to spend valuable time with my family or friends.”
The application of artificial intelligence opens up a new dimension of performance for both the product and the entire value chain. As a digital car company, Audi is digitizing all processes at the company: from product development with virtual reality to the factory with intelligent robots and to sales with the latest digital technology. A world of brand experience at the exhibition center in the Spanish metropolis demonstrates this ambition with exhibits, workshops and lectures. In the atmosphere of a pulsating big city, Audi is presenting the prospects of the smart factory. There, the stages of manufacturing that were once separated for the assembly line are being digitally reconnected and synchronized by Audi’s new production process. For example, driverless transport systems will allow cars in production to move independently to the vacant stations of a modular assembly system, whereby in the digital production process, the people in the factory will set the working pace and not the machines.
The digital revolution is tangible throughout an area of more than 10,000 square meters at the Barcelona exhibition center. It already starts when a customer buys a car: Virtual-reality glasses in the brand’s showrooms bring to life the individual configuration of the desired car. And it continues in the “Audi on demand” mobility promise. By 2020, Audi customers in 15 major markets worldwide will be able to order an Audi using a smartphone app. Trade visitors to the Audi Summit can learn from trend scouts of the international Audi Innovation Research teams in San Francisco and Beijing how the premium brand systematically identifies digital trends and takes them into account in future products and services.
In a society in which sustainability is becoming increasingly important, Audi assumes responsibility, for example through green innovations to protect the climate and the environment. One example of such a groundbreaking technology is CO2 capturing, a process for removing carbon dioxide from the air. This CO2 is used to produce innovative fuels such as synthetic Audi e-gas – or even carbonated drinks.
At the same time, the brand is demonstrating that electric drive systems are essential for future automobiles at Audi. By 2020, the product range will include three attractively designed and efficient electric cars. Under the motto of “Clean cars from clean factories,” Audi is already planning the CO2-neutral production of the Audi e-tron in Brussels as of 2018.
“For us at Audi, Vorsprung goes far beyond the car,” states Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board of Management Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “With everything we do, we want to make our customers’ lives easier. We give them time, connect them with their environment, and offer them sustainable solutions and unique experiences.”