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Prof. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG

Stuttgart, 2014-04-10

Keynote at the Conference „Mobility of the Future“
auto motor und sport

Prof. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for your invitation to deliver the keynote speech at the AMS Congress 2014.

We have many challenges to overcome in the 21st century. And we are living in an era when a smartwatch on our wrist is one-hundred-thousand times as powerful as the onboard computer for the Apollo 11.  Have a look at how much programming code is needed: for an iPhone App: 40,000 lines, for a Mars rover: 5 million lines, for the Android operating system: 12 million lines, for an F35 jet fighter: 24 million lines  and for the control software of a modern car up to 100 million lines of programming code.

The 100 million lines contain the entire logic for the hundreds of microcomputers carried on board an Audi: for engine control, navigation, communication, safety and assistance systems 100 million lines. Printed out, that would give us a stack of paper as tall as the Stuttgart TV tower. But we want the customer to be able to control every function with just one push of a button, a single voice command, one gesture, or, perhaps one day, even with a single glance.

We're making sure that all aspects of the car will become more intuitive in the future.

Look at Audi City, for example. This virtual sales format in Beijing, London and Berlin lets prospective buyers configure a car with gestures, multi-touch controls and body movements. Today this event is being watched live via Internet at multiple locations around the world.

Mobility concerns all of us – from the Spree River to the Neckar. And from the Han River in South Korea to Mystic River in Massachusetts. Four cities are in the running for the Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Seoul, Boston, Mexico City, and Berlin. Starting now, they will all work hard for six months to develop mobility concepts for the city of the future. I'll present the key issues later.

But first, let's look at the core message of our Audi Urban Future Initiative for 2014: "The car – taking (its) place in the city". Simple – ambiguous – but above all, very intriguing. The Audi Urban Future Initiative is rooted in a whole philosophy defining how our urban mobility concepts should look.

First: An industry is on a quest and is reinventing itself. Because people want the car to have a place in the future. Because individual mobility has become indispensable for our society. Because there is no doubt: the car is going to keep "taking place" in the future. Today we're still discussing the "how".

Because, from the Audi standpoint, this is subject to decisive parameters.

Second: Many cities are in the process of reinventing themselves. Urban planners are looking for sustainable concepts for the future. They want to take their cities to the next level: for working, living, enjoyment, and overall quality of life. People used to say: Cities want to provide a home for these needs. Now they're more likely to say: Cities create interfaces for a better quality of life.

Third: The car and the city are moving toward one another. And that makes sense, because they need each other. The planning horizons on both sides – whether it's for technology or infrastructure development – now easily extend as far ahead as the year 2030. Traffic experts once spoke of the "car-ready city." Now the priority has shifted more toward the "city-ready car." Because the city has to be livable and lovable.

The car looks for and finds the city. I'm not just referring to the navigation system. This refers to a symbiosis that is essential – to the coexistence of all of us. It is this kind of symbiosis that the Audi Urban Future Initiative is searching for – because we see it as part of our social responsibility, to think beyond the status quo, and above all to think ahead. And that defines the mission of the participants in our 2014 awards.

Just imagine traffic light interfaces so that cars can calculate the right speeds to catch green lights all the way. Just imagine multistory parking garages in the future with charging stations for e-cars installed right from the start. Or even better: induction charging pads. And, with space in cities at a premium, we’d also suggest setting up piloted parking areas in parking garages.

Our checklist for the city of the future is a call to cities to broaden their thinking – and think ahead. It's not so much a question of new hardware in the form of asphalt and concrete. The main priority is the logic of the city. The city needs a "software update" in a manner of speaking. The old concept of the city – that is still with us – sees a city as a collection of real estate: in other words, immovable property. We are bringing together mobility and the immovable. Future planning must leave more room for mobility to "take place" – because cities can't solve their problems simply by shutting out drivers. This is not what the inhabitants expect. Include them in your planning!

The winners of our 2012 mobility award – the US team from Höweler + Yoon Architecture – were right here exactly one year ago. They  told the AMS Congress about their “Shareway” concept. The Shareway merges everything on a single mobility platform. Individual and public transportation share the space. After the awards ceremony in Istanbul, a city dossier was created for Boston – as an instruction manual for this city of the future. Our research in Boston showed: during the daytime, there are 41 percent more people in the city. We analyzed how commuters get through the city. And how technologies can help people to move through Boston quickly and conveniently.

Our City Dossier defines three types of commuters: the Road Warrior, the Strap Hanger and the Reverse Commuter.

Straphangers use different means of transport, which are precisely timed and coordinated: First they drive to a Park & Ride area, find parking, and change to public transportation. The last part of the route is covered on foot. They could use Audi connect to display bus or train connections while en route by car.

Road Warriors live in the suburbs and commute by car to a workplace in the city center. They could simply pull over to the curb outside the parking garage and leave the search for a space to a software application while they walk to the office.

The Reverse Commuter lives in the city center and travels to work on the outskirts of the city or in the surrounding area. For one third of all commuters, their morning commute takes them out of the city, and not into it – an anti-cyclical trip, generally with no traffic congestion. Things get tense only in the evening, while covering the last few, tired kilometers of driving through after-work traffic. For these commuters, the stress of city traffic could be relieved by our piloted driving concept. Why is a car brand so interested in urban life? Because we want to understand it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, in our service-based society, 75 percent of value is created in cities. Mobility is a big part of this phenomenon. At the same time, it is only through mobility that many people gain access to prosperity. Without mobility, our economy would come to a standstill. In other words: Mobility is the foundation of business in our society.

Moreover: By 2030, the proportion of humanity living in urban areas will reach two thirds. City life is a key social phenomenon. According to a recent study, by mid-century, three times as many people will be on the move in the city. People want to move around a lot – and they also want to be moved – not just from A to B, but also emotionally. To that end, the automobile is undergoing a transformation from a driving machine to a sensory machine. What do I see? Hear? Feel and experience?

And in global terms: The number of megacities is steadily growing everywhere in the world. Do you know Chongqing – or Chengdu? You don't? These two Chinese cities alone have half as many people as all of Germany. Matching the growth of the megacities is the increasing complexity of the search for solutions. Every city is different. In its structures and in the needs of its people.

What many cities have in common is the following phenomenon: Space is scarce. Not enough living space, not enough housing, not enough recreational space. Generally, the space for transportation is also running out. You can see it every day in the traffic jams where commuters spend their time. Take Mexico City, for example. To the east of the city, we are now building a car factory. You can easily  spend two or three hours getting from one side of town to the other. Commuters waste one-twelfth of their lives in traffic jams. The same is true in Brazil. In Sao Paulo there are already 400 helicopters operating as airborne taxis, ferrying business people to important meetings.

Parking space is also scarce. When you finally get where you want to go, the search is on. There are parts of Berlin where cars looking for parking account for one-third of all traffic on the road. There are always free spaces – the trick is to find them. Central parking space software would predict free spaces. The only solution for making the most of scarce resources is to use them intelligently and efficiently.

Next phenomenon: City dwellers are short of time. I would even go further and say: tomorrow's premium will be a gain in time. Consequently, as a mobility provider we are investing a lot of energy in the question: How can we make time available to our customers? By getting them to their destination more quickly, and by offering them a pilot in case of congestion that takes care of steering, braking and acceleration. We will soon be putting piloted driving at speeds up to 60 km/h into series production. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in New York predicts that three quarters of all cars on the road will operate autonomously by 2040. This will become a mega trend.

Another trend: Big city life can indeed be quite anonymous, nevertheless, the inhabitants of urban centers have a very great need for networking. Perhaps not with their next-door neighbors. But they want it all the more so with peer groups – people with similar status or common interests. That's why the car as a mobile device turns into a very central interface. We are networking Audi drivers and their passengers digitally with their personal and working lives. With their music libraries, contacts, e-mails, Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds. We are integrating Google Android and Apple functionalities into the car. And we are networking the car with its surroundings – other cars and the transportation infrastructure.

The car will “take (its) place” in the city because the car and the city are moving toward one another. Urban structures define the individual mobility of tomorrow. Only with intelligent urban design and mobility planning, infrastructure renewal and innovative technologies will we achieve the next big improvement in efficiency. To shape the mobility of tomorrow, we are engaged in open and unbiased discussions with thought leaders from all over the world and from a diverse range of disciplines.

And that is the first team in our 2014 awards: Try to imagine Somerville, near Boston. The mayor wants to transform the city completely – from a former industrial center into something new. We're wondering what a mobility market in a city like this looks like, what technologies are important, and how the infrastructure needs to be developed and connected. For example, piloted parking and driving cannot be planned in complete isolation from the urban context. The Americans are also interested to see how we interconnect cars and traffic lights. Traffic experts, software specialists and urban planners simulate future traffic flows and behavioral trends. That's the team Boston’s plan.

Next stop: South Korea. Here, the second team wants to study how people respond to an increasingly digitized urban environment. In a media-driven world, a premium lifestyle is emerging. It provides us with a teachable moment en route to new interfaces between humans, machines and the city. The car becomes a communication tool. It will use ever-increasing amounts of surface space: in the car, on the car and in the streetscape. Look around in Seoul's Gangnam district today. The entire city is a display – every building is communicating. Why not the car, too – as a smart display?

Trend scouts and visualization experts got together in Seoul. They want to explore how the car can become an urban interface. And in the age of wearable technologies, it's fair to ask: Is the day approaching when we won't even need smartphones? Some are already  saying: the smartphone will soon be completely outdated. Everything that moves and has an IP address will soon be able to communicate in an Internet of Everything.

That takes us to Mexico City, with team three. La Reforma is the name of one of the main traffic arteries in this teeming metropolis with 24 million inhabitants. One of the world's longest streets, it connects the city's main business districts. It is almost always jammed solid. That is the starting point for the data specialists' question: Can individual mobility solve the problems that it has caused? The planned outcome is the first mobility database for this metropolis, showing who commutes to work daily – and how. Team Mexico City is tackling the Santa Fe business district. Every day, more than 230,000 commuters drive to work here. The goal: solutions that make it enjoyable again to move around in this city.

And finally, Team Four in Berlin will explore the question of how transportation modes can be networked, and, for example, look for ways of bridging the "last mile." This is Berlin's Tegel Airport. It's slated for rebirth as a state-of-the art site for research, industry and education: "Urban Tech Republic." But when – at some time in the distant future – the airport is no longer in operation, the stations on the passenger side of the campus will no longer meet the needs of the office buildings several kilometers away.  Will the answer be a shuttle service? Or are there concepts of what a car for the last mile could look like? A "last mile car" would be subject to very different requirements: If it always drives at 50 km/h, other materials could be used to build it, because the safety standards would be different.

We're learning from every discipline in this competition– even elevator manufacturers and their algorithms. Transit managers in that field prepare projected movement flows. They analyze the traffic flows of elevators or escalators on every floor. This results in self-optimizing, self-learning systems.

Future ideas of this kind cannot be dreamed up on the drawing board. They come about through the networking of highly diverse disciplines and through close analysis of data.

Our initiative takes a holistic approach to mobility! To give you an idea of the dimensions we're talking about for the mobility of the future, I have two impressive figures: Right now, there are more than one billion cars on the world's roads. By 2030 this figure could actually triple. If we do nothing, we will multiply our problems by three. If we take action, then something entirely new will take shape.

Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of the US technology magazine Wired, provides a nice foretaste of this dynamic. He told us: "If I tell my child today I drive … my car … to the office to work… then in 10 years, hardly a word of that sentence will be true." What exactly is he saying? Let's try to parse the meaning:

  • Will I really drive my car? Or, for example, is it one of up to three models per year that I have dropped off at my door under a flat rate plan? Because: It's nice to own one car. But many people may find it even nicer to be able to drive three cars, a convertible in the summer, an Avant for the big family holiday in the summer, and an SUV for the winter, for example. We make it possible: with Audi select. We also have a few other ideas in this direction.
  • Second question: Will I travel to work only by car? Or will the intermodal networking of the various modes of transport reach the point by then that we can optimize time, ecology and personal comfort? An app will then become the centralized mobility planner, using my personal calendar and the current traffic situation to look ahead and recommend the best time for me to depart, how to travel, and where to go.
  • Third question: Will it always be me doing the driving? Or will I use the kind of intelligent assistant I described earlier when I'm stuck in traffic or looking for parking?
  • Fourth question: Am I going to work in the office? Or will my work start as soon as I'm sitting in my networked car? Because I'm moving within my familiar digital environment. The boundaries between work and leisure time will become increasingly fluid in both directions.

So, if a simple sentence like, "I drive my car to the office to work" will no longer be valid in 10 years...that shows us that: Within one decade, individual mobility will be turned upside down in our digital society. After more than a century of automotive history, we are now undergoing the biggest phase of upheaval our industry has ever seen. With our Audi Urban Future Initiative, we have learned a lot to help us prepare for it. A number of new assistants for city traffic are ready to go into production. Now it's time for cities to spot the opportunities and utilize them.

What's the right approach to shaping change? Should it be revolutionary or evolutionary? My answer to this question is decisive – but with distinctions: development: revolutionary, communicating the results to the customer evolutionary. Those who want to shape the future must address topics in an open-ended way and technology-wise unbiased.

But the future doesn't arrive spectacularly, all of a sudden. If we bear in mind that the future becomes just a little bit more real every day, that means: To reach the big revolutionary goal, it takes small, evolutionary steps.

Because, for all of us in the car industry, we have to remember above all the one we do it all for…the customer. And our customers want to be taken along on the journey. They want to see that a new solution will not mean having to sacrifice the things they want – in any respect. If we succeed, then we can also win our customers over to new, breakthrough technologies.

That is the reason why, for years now, we at Audi have repeatedly delivered the message: electric powertrains, alongside the high-efficiency high-tech engines from the TDI and TFSI range, comprise a single discipline that will help our industry handle the biggest task now facing it building more efficient cars, with lower fuel consumption, and lower CO2 emissions, for improved climate protection. So far, we're probably all in agreement.

But the cars that count are only the ones that are sold  – also for the EU CO2 fleet statistics. And not the car in the dealership window. And young technologies always start out on a rocky road. Every engineer knows what I'm talking about. And it is unacceptable, especially for a premium player, to ask customers to compromise with regard to: range – just think of today's battery capacities, safety – there is high voltage aboard! Long-term quality – think of the lifetime of batteries available today. And what else? Convenience – where did you say I could find a charging point? And emotionally – customers enjoy the feeling of having a vehicle that's completely ready for everyday driving.

No compromises. We want to change the world – but not our customers' lives. Customers must still be able to do what they want – with no restrictions. That's what we're there for: to offer the usability that a driver expects. And that's why we made a clear decision in favor of plug-in hybrids at Audi. For typical everyday ranges, you'll drive electrically and emission-free. But you'll always have the certainty that, with the TFSI engine, you can cover well over 900 kilometers whenever you need to. With the A3 e-tron, with standardized fuel consumption of 1.5 liters, which means 35 grams of CO2.The e-tron strategy gives us the opportunity, with today's level of technological advancement and in the current market phase, to offer our efficient technologies across our entire model range. Consequently, starting now, we will be launching one additional e tron model on the market every year.

And we're also thinking about the car factory of the future. For example, we do not need a separate plant for electric cars. Instead, we're integrating these e-tron cars into the same production line as the other models. This means that our production is cost-efficient and geared to demand. Aligned with customer needs – 100 percent. And the market is in full agreement. When the market and the technologies are ready for them, we will put fully battery-driven cars on the road. With a new interpretation of electro-mobility: with cars that are sexy, that are charged inductively, that are both sporty and efficient – and above all: cars that network with the city of the future.

Then the car will take (its) place in the city.

What have we accomplished so far with the Audi Urban Future Initiative – and what’s next? 2010: An unbiased and socially-oriented discussion of urban mobility. 2012: We took a closer look at five metropolitan regions and came up with an “operating manual” for city mobility. 2014: We called for a new agenda for urban mobility of the future.

Because we’re going to have to change our old ways of thinking – about both the car industry and cities.

  • First: We’re dissolving the boundaries between mobility and immobility. Because progress is all about using technology not only to advance our cars, but also to support urban development.
  • Second: Realizing that nowadays, life is both real and virtual – simultaneously.
  • Our cities will need to have the ability to serve as interfaces between real and virtual life. In the world of the Internet of Everything, the automobile will need to have the capability to communicate with all of these other objects – to make our lives easier.
  • Third: We don’t believe that individualism and collectivity are mutually exclusive things. With its individual and unique set of attributes, the automobile has the ability to fill the gaps in urban mobility networks. A person’s individual freedom and his or her responsibility to the community are intertwined: one is necessary for the other.
  • Fourth: We don’t believe that progress and sustainability contradict one another. Actually, it’s technological progress that allows us to make our cities more sustainable:  less noise pollution, cleaner air, more space, more quality of life – that is our vision for mobility of the future.

We’ve made these four topics a part of our agenda, because in the intervening years since we launched the Audi Urban Future Initiative, we’ve come to realize just how essential they are. The 2014 city competition will serve as a showcase for these four topics: Boston – for mobility and immobility. Seoul – for real and virtual life. Berlin – for collectivity and individualism. and Mexico City – for progress and sustainability.

The mobility of the future isn’t just some ideological discussion. The German car industry needs to take concerted action to collaborate with cities. It’s a complex topic. And tackling it will most certainly call for the courage to make bold advancements. But nobody can solve the challenge of ensuring that the car will take (its) place in the city alone. The mobility revolution poses the greatest opportunity of the 21st century. So let’s start the revolution – together – here in the birthplace of the automobile. Thank you very much!

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Keynote at the Conference „Mobility of the Future“
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