Audi starts further-training campaign for big data and artificial intelligence

“In our areas of the digital future, the rapid development of new IT skills is a critical competitive factor. The topics of artificial intelligence and big data play a key role here,” stated Michael Schmid, Head of the Audi Academy. In the context of the initiative, the company is therefore systematically analyzing the requirements of the various business units and preparing a comprehensive qualification portfolio.

This starts with basic programs for new entrants without any knowledge of programming, such as the basis of data analysis, and ends with courses at university level on topics such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Agile project management with methods such as scrum, design thinking or prototyping is also included in big‑data qualification. All courses offered are individually tailored to the needs of the various employees.

In addition to in‑house training, Audi also integrates the expertise of external partners. In this way, the carmaker combines digital learning on the Udacity online platform from Silicon Valley with presence formats it has developed itself. Tutors from the relevant departments at Audi support the participants with queries and learning projects, and ensure a close technical connection with Audi. This further training takes place in parallel with the participants’ work; the “Audi students” are released to participate for ten hours per week. Following the successful conclusion of the complete program, the employees are awarded a so‑called nanodegree from the online platform, for example as a data analyst or machine‑learning engineer. “With purely online courses, the dropout rate is often very high,” said Michael Schmid. “That’s why we decided in favor of a combination of the online courses offered by Udacity and presence courses here at Audi.”

In the coming years, employees from all departments will gain qualifications in the area of big data, thus helping to push forward with Audi’s transformation into a digital car company. Specific areas of application for big data at the company include block‑chain technology, the analysis of large volumes of machine data for production optimization, machine learning in accounting processes and the development of cars that drive in piloted mode.

The Audi Academy is the main point of contact for training and further training at the company and encourages lifelong learning for Audi employees with the use of various formats. Blended learning, which is the combination of presence courses and digital courses, is playing an increasingly important role, not only with regard to big data. In the context of mobile learning, for example, apprentices use tablet computers in order to reinforce learned material anytime and anywhere. Audi trains logistics employees with the help of virtual reality, allowing them to practice packing processes. And online communities support language training for employees preparing for deployment abroad.