Smart factories and logistics: the objectives of Automotive Initiative 2025

Smart factories and logistics: the objectives of Automotive Initiative 2025

With the Automotive Initiative 2025 Audi aims at establishing a hi-tech competence network for innovation in production processes. The Neckarsulm site will be the pilot factory for digital transformation, with solutions provided by partners such as Amazon Web Services, SAP, Capgemini and the XL2 joint venture tested here.

Audi already adopts intelligent digital solutions at its production sites all around the world; it is now launching the Automotive Initiative 2025 (AI25) in Heilbronn. The initiative brings together partners from academia and the IT sector to make factories even smarter.

AI25 is aiming to develop digital solutions for the factories of the future and implement them in vehicle production and logistics within the next five years, making the production process even more efficient and flexible.

The Audi site in Neckarsulm has been chosen as pilot factory and will become a real-world laboratory for digital transformation, thus playing a central role in the initiative.

The Neckarsulm site

At Neckarsulm, digital solutions for production and the supply chain will be tested and developed, drawing on the site’s expertise in small-series and volume production.

We already have extensive experience in production, logistics and IT at our Neckarsulm site. We will further enhance these capabilities in a targeted manner as part of the transformation. With our team of experts and our partners in the Automotive Initiative 2025 we will develop the site into a leading factory for digital production and logistics within the Group,” said Peter Kössler, Board Member for Production and Logistics at Audi.

Partner support

As part of the Bildungscampus in Heilbronn and the Heilbronn-Franken region’s Innovation and IT Network, the Neckarsulm site will help to develop future thinking solutions involving the use of artificial intelligence or intuitive man-machine interaction.

XL2, the Heilbronn-based joint venture founded last year by Audi and Capgemini, will play an important role when it comes to bringing technological innovations to the Audi plants around the world. There is also academic support from the Fraunhofer IAO and the Technical University of Munich; XL2 will also collaborate with IT experts from Capgemini, SAP and Amazon Web Services to develop the IT solutions required for a smart and connected factory.

The Volkswagen industrial cloud

Using the Digital Production Platform (DPP), all Audi production sites will be connected to the Volkswagen Group Industrial Cloud, where the data of every machine, piece of equipment and system from every plant in the Volkswagen Group are pooled. In the future, the cloud will also include the procurement chain. With Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt already connected, the remaining sites will follow later this year.

The companies will be leveraging Amazon Web Services technologies in the areas of the Internet of Things, machine learning and computing services. All services will be developed specifically for the production environment and adapted to the requirements of the automotive industry.

Digital production

The SAP S/4HANA platform will lay the foundation for the next generation of digital production processes, such as modular production and interoperable vehicle logistics. The companies involved in the Automotive Initiative 2025 will use specific applications of the SAP Industry Cloud in the areas of machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) and business process intelligence. These areas are already aligned with the digital needs of the automotive industry for the future.

With the Automotive Initiative 2025, we have created a network between academia, research, IT companies and automotive manufacturing. The initiative will help drive the digital transformation of automobile production,” explained Professor Helmut Krcmar from TU Munich.


Holistic vision

AI25 is characterised by its holistic view of the digital transformation and by its clear ties to the real world. We study both strategic topics and concrete use cases that accelerate the digital transformation and generate new innovative ideas,” added Frank Loydl, Chief Information Officer at Audi.

The Automotive Initiative 2025 will bring benefits to the digital transformation of the entire Volkswagen Group. The knowledge gleaned will be used to help shape the future IT configuration of the automotive plants, as well as define applicable standards for all Group plants worldwide via the industrial cloud.


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