Federal Minister of Transport Dobrindt tests piloted Audi

Alexander Dobrindt satisfied himself of the technical capabilities of the Audi A7 piloted driving concept on Friday. The Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure accepted an invitation from AUDI AG to experience the technology of piloted driving first-hand.

Minister of Transport Dobrindt after his ride in the test vehicle, “Jack.” “Automated driving is not something out of science fiction. In a few years there will be piloted vehicles driving on the roads. Digital technology can assume tasks from the driver and provide enhanced safety and convenience. The long term goal is completely networked roads. Traffic jams and environmental pollution will be reduced, traffic safety increased and the infrastructure used to optimum capacity. I see big opportunities for Germany as a location for innovation and industry. Our automotive industry has the most attractive products in the world. Our goal must be to remain a world leader, including for automated driving,” explained Dobrindt, who has officially declared a section of Autobahn A9 to be a high-tech superhighway. It will serve as a test bed for the networked automobile of the future.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Technical Development, considers the test drive with Minister Dobrindt to be “a further demonstration of the technical maturity and potential of piloted driving,” which Audi will offer in the Audi A8* in an initial expansion stage beginning in 2017. He welcomed the political support. “This will enable a key technology from Germany to also find its leading market at home.”

Hackenberg sees three primary areas of application for this use of artificial intelligence in automobiles. “On the one hand for the prevention of accidents: When the driver is overwhelmed and there is the risk of losing control or when he or she is bored because the trip is too monotonous. On the other hand also when the driver can and wants to make more effective use of his or her time, such as when sitting in a traffic jam. Less stress, greater safety and more convenience are the results.” It is now important that legislators work together with legal, regulatory and industry experts to pave the way for the authorization of such systems.

Audi continues to document its progress with this technology with spectacular demonstrations. In the United States, a driverless Audi TTS* etched the brand’s trademark four rings into the surface of a salt flat and also conquered Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains. In fall 2014, an RS 7 Sportback* circled the Hockenheim racetrack without a driver at the physical limits of driving. Since the start of this year, Audi has been demonstrating the next steps in piloted driving on public roads, for example under realistic traffic conditions on an American highway from the West Coast to Las Vegas.

The function for piloted driving in traffic jams, which Audi is currently moving to production, is based on existing assistance systems such as Audi adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist. At speeds between 0 and 65 km/h (40.4 mph), the system will take over acceleration, braking and steering from the driver, if desired, providing some relief from stress in congested highway traffic. When the traffic jam dissolves or the road ends, the computer prompts the driver to take over the driving again.

The super brain of piloted driving is the central driver assistance control unit (zFAS). It uses state-of-the-art, high-performance processors to evaluate the signals from all sensors in real time and compute maneuvers. A radar system scans the area in front of the car while a video camera detects lane markings, guardrails, pedestrians and other vehicles. A laser scanner delivers high-precision data about objects up to 80 meters (262.5 ft) away. Furthermore, as many as twelve ultrasonic sensors and four cameras monitor the entire area surrounding the car. The zFAS then uses all these sensor data to compute a model of the surroundings that describes the prevailing traffic situation in great detail. This enables very early detection by the system of vehicles moving into the lane in front of the vehicle, for example.

This means that Audi already has the series technology for the first piloted driving systems available. The new functions made possible because of them can significantly expand the role of the car as an emotional, convenient and modern living space. Audi is fully devoted to this issue because in addition to the increase in safety, the gain in convenience brings along a substantial customer benefit with it.

Further information and press material about piloted driving at Audi has been compiled in adigital press kit.

You can find footage that is rights‑free and free of charge on the trip taken by Federal Minister for Transport Alexander Dobrindt and other video content about piloted driving onAudi MediaTV.

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi A7 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5 – 4.7** (24.8 – 50.0 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221 – 122** (355.7 – 196.3 g/mi)

Audi A8:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 11.3 – 5.9** (20.8 – 39.9 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 264 – 144** (424.9 – 231.7 g/mi)

Audi TTS:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.5 – 6.8** (31.4 – 34.6 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 174 – 157** (280.0 – 252.7 g/mi)

Audi RS 7 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5** (24.8 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221** (355.7 g/mi)

**The fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions of a vehicle vary due to the choice of wheels and tires. They not only depend on the efficient utilization of the fuel by the vehicle, but are also influenced by driving behavior and other non-technical factors

“The sky’s the limit”:Audi displays convertibles at Techno Classica


The Audi Tradition exhibit at this year’s Techno Classica in Essen centers around convertibles and roadsters. The world’s biggest classic car show provides the perfect stage for eight automotive treasures from Audi’s history from Wednesday, April 15 to Sunday, April 19. The theme of the exhibit from Ingolstadt is “Nach oben offen” (“The sky’s the limit”) – and is rounded out by three NSU racing motorcycles and an NSU “Renndienst” racing service bus.

The inspiration for the Audi theme this year was an anniversary: the sporty line of roadsters from Auto Union first developed 80 years ago. With the 1932 merger of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer into Auto Union AG, sportiness became an established brand value. A convertible two-seater was then developed for each of the brands, and these were debuted in 1935. Three of these sports cars are among the highlights at the Audi stand.

One is the elegant Audi Front 225 Roadster with an elongated hood. Because of the 7,950 Reichsmark price tag for this car, plans for low-volume production did not pan out. In the end, only two prototypes were constructed. The exhibit is an exact replica on a contemporary Audi front chassis.

The DKW F 5 Roadster fulfilled the desire of many customers for a small, two-seater sports car and particularly appealed to young drivers with sporty driving ambitions. In all, 407 models left the production halls. The DKW on exhibit dates from 1937.

With a year’s delay, Auto Union also introduced a roadster from the Wanderer brand – the development work for the six-cylinder compressor engine took longer than originally planned. A vintage 1937 roadster can be viewed in Essen. The timeless elegance of the design of the Wanderer W 25 K was just as thrilling back then as it is today.

Another exhibit – the Auto Union 1000 Sp Roadster – transports visitors to the automotive world of the 1960s. The design is unmistakably inspired by American automotive design of the 1950s. The “Sp” designation stood for “special” – and people quickly began referring to it as “Sputnik” because of its futuristic appearance.

At its side is the NSU Wankel Spider – the first car in the world to include a rotary engine as standard equipment. It celebrated its premier at the International Motor Show (IAA) in 1963. In 1967 and 1968, Siegfried Spieß won the German Hill Climb Championship in all classes in an NSU Wankel Spider.

Audi Tradition is presenting yet another unique specimen at the Techno Classica 2015: the Audi 100 LS Cabriolet. The four-seater convertible was presented by the Osnabrück-based car manufacturing company Wilhelm Karmann GmbH at the IAA in 1969. It used the two-door Audi 100 sedan as its technical basis. A special feature was the electrohydraulic operation of the fully retractable top.

In 1989 the concept car for another Audi convertible caused a sensation – and this one went into volume production: 71,510 units of the first generation of the Audi Cabriolet rolled off the assembly line between 1991 and 2000. With its extravagant color combination of volcano black pearl-effect exterior paint and red leather, the model exhibited in Essen was a big attention-grabber at the 1999 IAA.

The Audi TT Roadster* also arrived at dealerships in 1999. The TTS concept car it was based on had been shown previously by Audi in November 1995 at the Tokyo Motor Show – and the TT has been considered a design icon ever since. Audi built 90,733 units of the convertible variant during seven years of production from 1999 to 2005. A 1999 TT Roadster can be viewed at the show in Essen.

Three NSU motorcycles that were highly successful in racing can likewise be seen there: the NSU 500 SSR, NSU Rennfox and NSU Sportmax.

English racer Tom Bullus won the 1930 Motorcycle Grand Prix of Germany with the NSU 500 SSR. The “Bullus,” as insiders subsequently called the NSU 500 SSR racing motorcycle, could also be purchased at the time as a racing and road sport machine.

About 250 units of the NSU Rennfox were built in 1950 and 1951. Of the first 30 motorcycles produced, 20 went to the ADAC as a gift in support of talented young racing drivers.

The NSU Sportmax on display, built in 1955, was ridden by the legendary German racer H. P. Müller. He was the first private racer in the world to win a world championship title in the 250 cc class on the Sportmax. Eight German championships were won with the NSU Sportmax between 1956 and 1963.

A faithful replica of the NSU “Renndienst” racing service bus from Volkswagen joins the ensemble of motorcycles from NSU’s racing history.

The heritage department at AUDI AG is presenting its treasures across roughly 700 square meters (7534.7 sq ft) in Hall 7. Fans and collectors of miniatures can also purchase this year’s model from Audi Tradition here: an orange Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO, limited to 333 copies, in 1:43 scale. Members of the Audi Club International (ACI) will display additional classic cars from the company’s history in Hall 7.1.

Organizers for the show expect 190,000 delighted fans of classic cars.

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi TT Roadster:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.5 – 4.3 (31.4 – 54.7 US mpg);
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 174 – 114 (280.0 – 183.5 g/mi)

Audi ready to battle for World Endurance Championship title


Audi is ready for the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). On Sunday, April 12, at Silverstone in the UK, the chase begins for the World Championship title that Audi won in 2012 and 2013. With two new R18 e-tron quattro cars and six successful drivers, Audi Sport Team Joest will be battling for the first victory in the new season.

A newly designed hybrid sports car, some 10,000 test kilometers, an Audi teambuilding and fitness camp in February and an initial meeting of the teams at the official FIA WEC Prologue on the last weekend in March: “Audi is ready for the 2015 season. It’ll be tougher this year than ever before,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “At the Prologue at Le Castellet, we met with our opponents for the first time in the 2015 season and were able to see that everyone is thoroughly prepared – even though nobody put their cards on the table there. Our aim is to win again at Silverstone, like we did in 2012 and 2013.”There, the spectators witnessed the racing premiere of a new generation of the Audi hybrid sports car. The combination of a V6 TDI engine with e-tron quattro hybrid drive is more powerful and more efficient than ever before. The two-fold amount of energy – four megajoules – is available in the electric drive system while the diesel engine delivers an output of more than 410 kW (558 PS). Combined with clearly improved aerodynamics and new developments in the chassis, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro runs faster than before but uses even less fuel.Plenty of diversity is awaiting the drivers at Silverstone. The circuit on the former airfield used to be famous for its high speeds. Now, numerous narrow sections complement the track configuration, resulting in an unusual combination that forces the engineers to make compromises in setting up the cars. A comparison: The R18 e-tron quattro runs through turn four called ‘The Loop’ in first gear at a little less than 80 km/h whereas it achieves more than 270 km/h in the ‘Maggots’ section in seventh gear. The drivers have to shift up into a higher gear 18 times and downshift again 18 times per lap – which amounts to 36 gear changes around the 5.891-kilometer track.

The 2012 Silverstone winners, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F), will be entering the race in car number 7 on Sunday at 12.00, local time. They have won the Le Mans 24 Hours three times and were World Endurance Champions in 2012. A year later, Loïc Duval (F) decided this title in his favor together with his then team-mates Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish. He is sharing car number 8 at Audi with Lucas di Grassi (BR) and Oliver Jarvis (GB), who will be competing in his home round at Silverstone. Jarvis lives in Burwell just 130 kilometers away from the race track and is contesting his first full FIA WEC season.

In the season opener, Audi will be racing in an important growth market. With approximately 158,800 deliveries, the company recorded an 11.8 percent increase in sales in the United Kingdom compared with the previous year. In the past ten years, the brand even doubled its deliveries there. Within Europe, the United Kingdom is Audi’s second-largest market following the German domestic market.

In total, Audi’s LMP race cars have clinched five victories at Silverstone, two in the FIA WEC and three in other sports car racing series between 2004 and 2008. In addition to the WEC victory – accounting for 24 points in the Championship – the race this year will be about winning the Tourist Trophy as well. The tradition-steeped British motorsport trophy has been awarded since 1905.

“Police raid” at the Audi museum mobile


In a special exhibition entitled “Razzia” (in English: Police Raid), the Audi museum mobile will present 14 police patrol cars of various brands from nearly every era of police car history. The new special show runs from April 10 to August 30, 2015. The museum is offering special tours of the exhibition. Another highlight: Visitors can now see “Treasures from Neckarsulm” – historic cars and motorcycles from this Audi site – on the paternoster elevator in the museum.

While police in the United States realized early on that the car was highly suited to fighting crime, police departments in Germany long continued to send their constables and state troopers through their beats on foot or bicycle. The means of locomotion for police in Germany changed only after the First World War. The oldest exhibit in the show, the 1930 Horch 400 police squad car, originated during this era.

It took several years, however, for the car to finally become established in police work. Police departments at the time sent models from both Auto Union GmbH and NSU Motorenwerke AG out on patrol. Exhibits in the museum include a DKW 1000 S (1963) that was used by the Münster highway patrol, and an NSU Prinz 4 from 1964.

Other cars in the exhibition that bear witness to the era of the German economic miracle include the Volkswagen Typ 18 A (1949) and a Hanomag L 28 GruKW (“Gruppenkraftwagen,” in English: group car), made in 1951. Many visitors will also be reminded of the legendary TV series from the 1960s “Funkstreife Isar 12” when they catch sight of the BMW 501 in the museum. It made television history as the so-called “baroque angel.” In addition, a 1964 Porsche 356 from the highway patrol is being exhibited.

The Audi 100 (C1) also wore a police uniform – the exhibit on display rolled off the assembly line in 1971. Audi primarily supplied the roomy sedan to the highway patrols in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony and Bavaria. The national police in the former German Democratic Republic used the Wartburg 353 – the special show includes a model from 1983.

Audi models of the 1990s follow in a green-and-white design. The Audi 80 (B4), produced in Ingolstadt, achieved stardom in the television series “Hubert und Staller” that began in November 2011. The high-performance Audi A6 (C4) – produced from 1990 to 1994 – is particularly suited to service on the highway. With this model, the patrol car began to develop into a modern, digitally connected work station where so many officers now spend more than half of their working time.

An Audi A4 Avant from 2005 and a Lamborghini Gallardo Polizia – with 500 hp, one of the fastest police cars in the world – are shown as representatives of more recent history. The newest exhibit comes from 2009: a VW Scirocco in blue-silver. The sport coupé has never been used in police service, however. It was developed especially for the safety initiative of a tuning club.

Motorized two-wheelers complete the journey through police history: the NSU Quickly as a police moped (1953), a NSU Supermax Polizei (1961), the Ducati 600 Desmo Polizia Urban (1983) and an MZ ETZ (“Einzylinder-Telegabel-Zentralkastenrahmen,” in English: single-cylinder – telescopic fork – central box frame) 250 VP (“Volkspolizei,” in English: national police) from 1985.

A specially developed kids’ program takes young visitors (6 to 12 years) to the exhibition along on a journey into the world of police work. In “Tatü-tata, die Kinderpolizei ist da!” (“Woo-woo, the police kids are here!”) they learn why the blue light is blue, where the siren originated and the story behind the term “the white mice.” The police kids can then try out what they have learned in an interactive project with a pedal car that has been converted into a patrol car. But they have to be careful – their traffic violations might be captured with a flash photo and result in a ticket. More information about the kids’ program and about tours through the special exhibition can be obtained from the Audi Welcome Service, Tel.: 0800 283 4444 (in Germany).

In addition to the new special exhibition, another attraction awaits visitors to the Audi museum mobile. “Treasures from Neckarsulm” can also be seen now on the large paternoster elevator. These document the automotive history of the Audi site. The company NSU was founded in 1873 in Riedlingen and relocated in 1900 to Neckarsulm. Motorcycles began being built there in 1901; automobile production was added in 1906. A selection of 11 cars and five motorcycles on the Paternoster in the Audi museum mobile testify to the long history of NSU. Among the things to see are rare items from history, such as the first NSU race car, the NSU 6/60 PS, which won the first “Grand Prix of Germany for Sports Cars.” Also on display is an NSU Baumm II, a special motorcycle that set world speed records in 1954 in 1956. Along with NSU classics like the Ro 80, Wankel Spider and NSU TT, visitors will also find an NSU Uruguay P6, which the company produced exclusively in that South American country.

Audi mastermind for piloted driving:the central driver assistance controller

The central driver assistance controller (zFAS) is the core of future systems for piloted driving under development by Audi. This mastermind uses cutting edge, high performance processors and will work its way into the model range step by step in the foreseeable future. It is a key milestone on the road to new, automated driving functions and a demonstration of the pioneering role that Audi is assuming in the field of piloted driving. The technologies specialist Delphi has been awarded the contract for series productions.

Audi developed this elemental control center in collaboration with internationally leading technology partners. Under the direction of Audi, a team of specialists from TTTech, Mobileye, nVidia and Delphi jointly developed the various hardware and software components. Audi has chosen Delphi as the future system supplier for the zFAS electronics board.

A wide range of sensor information comes together in the zFAS. The controller uses this to quickly compute a complete model of the vehicle surroundings and makes this information available to the various assistance systems. It is thus the central interface for all piloted driving functions.

At the moment, most driver assistance systems are managed by spatially separated controllers. In the future, Audi will be the first automobile manufacturer to implement this function in a central domain architecture. Audi has taken a holistic approach to consolidate the portfolio of functions, the sensors necessary, the electronics hardware and the software architecture into a central system. From the very beginning, the primary focus was on the safety concept.

High‑performance electronic components are a prerequisite for high‑powered computing in a compact package. The zFAS board is equipped with both the EyeQ3 mobile processor from Mobileye and the new Tegra K1 from nVidia. The tremendous computing power provided by this solution corresponds to the complete electronics architecture of a well-equipped mid-size car. Thanks to the high degree of integration, the new board is barely the size of a tablet PC. Its modular concept makes the zFAS flexible scalable and thus future-proof in every respect.

Audi is also working with leading suppliers such as Bosch, Continental, Valeo and Delphi on the sensors and actuating elements, such as braking and steering systems. The objective is to develop common standards and offer customers modern driver assistance systems for greater safety, comfort and convenience on the road to fully automatic driving.

In the near future, Audi connect will enable the piloted cars from Audi to also learn continuously as they drive. The data computed by the zFAS board will be transferred via the cellular phone network — via LTE, where available — to an IT backend in the cloud. This will process these data using algorithms for machine learning and artificial intelligence before sending the data back to the car. The zFAS board will in this way continuously extend its capabilities to master even complex situations increasingly better. The piloted cars from Audi thus learn more every day and with each new situation they experience.