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Digital, connected and efficient: future Audi models will be software-driven

1.7.2021
Digital, connected and efficient: future Audi models will be software-driven

CARIAD, the Volkswagen Group company responsible for cross-brand vehicle software, and Artemis, an innovative development unit working on the next generation of Audi models, are collaborating to create ever smarter and more connected cars.

CARIAD and Artemis are playing a key role in the transformation of the Volkswagen Group and in particular of Audi.

CARIAD is the Group’s subsidiary specialising in software and digitalisation. Launched a year ago as Car.Software, it is responsible for consolidating all expertise in this area within a single division and is made up of 4,000 software experts.

Artemis meanwhile is a cutting-edge development unit based on a highly innovative model. Initially set up outside the usual structures and processes, it now operates within Audi’s Technical Development division and has laid the foundation for forward-looking technology in new models.

Digital experiences

CARIAD is focused on developing standardised software solutions for all of the Group’s brands and markets. VW.OS, the vehicle operating system, and its integration into the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud are key components of the development scope; so too are data-led business models and innovative services. Data was until recently associated most closely with smartphones, but will play an increasingly central role in cars.

Fully connected Audi models already offer customers digital experiences. However, the majority of digitalisation in vehicles contributes “invisibly” in the background to enhanced comfort and efficiency: two excellent examples of this (which echo the smartphone model) are continuous updates and new functions that can be activated without visiting the workshop.

Data security

When it comes to over-the-air software and, more generally, to all digital activities, Audi’s priority is the security of its customers’ personal data: in the digital era the quality standards typical of Audi are even more important. A car’s operating system and its connectivity with a highly secure data cloud are increasingly becoming factors that offer a competitive edge.

That is why software development is growing in both importance and scope: driving assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane assist require around 100 million lines of source code; and an infotainment system alone comprises more than 10 million lines of code – the equivalent of what was found in an entire vehicle a few years ago.

Digitalisation

As vehicles become more digitalised, the complexity and costs of development also increase. That’s why Audi is re-thinking its technical development, shifting its focus from hardware to software. As a result, Audi no longer organises vehicle projects on the basis of the model’s dimensions. Instead, it places the emphasis on the electrical system and electronic components, thus laying the foundation for achieving synergies.

Thanks to standardised software, substantial economies of scale are generated. This reduces costs across all Group brands. Underscoring the importance attached to digitalisation, the Volkswagen Group is investing around 27 billion Euros in the area. This figure is double that of the previous planning round and also includes expenditure for CARIAD activities.

The future of Artemis

Given its role in driving technical development and innovation at Audi, Artemis is part of the same vision. “Modern working methods, software-based tools and targeted processes are the key for turning ideas into innovations quickly and efficiently. The Artemis team will be increasingly involved in technical development,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development of Audi, in charge of the project. In summer 2020, a team of experts set the ball rolling on the development of a highly efficient and fully connected electric vehicle scheduled to enter the market in 2024.

Following the conclusion of the conceptual phase, Artemis handed over responsibility for vehicle development to Audi and software development to CARIAD. The team is now concentrating its efforts on methods, tools and processes, in order to create a new blueprint for software-driven vehicle development.

Source AUDI AG

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Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development of Audi

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