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Software and autonomous driving in the heart of the Audi of the future

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From car manufacturer to technology player. This is the path that Audi has been undertaking in recent months to face, within the Volkswagen group, a transition that is not only energetic, with the transition from thermal to electric, but also technological and cultural. and this is the meaning of the «Vorsprung 2030» plan which, announced in recent weeks, defines the brand’s roadmap, strategic objectives and business horizons. And among these a key point stands out: The Ingolstadt-based manufacturer will launch on the global market exclusively new full electric models, while the production of internal combustion engines will be progressively interrupted by 2033. In conjunction with the edition of Audi City Lab in Milan , we talked about the present and the future of the four rings with Hildegard Wortmann, board member of the Ingolstadt company and global marketing manager.

A plan such as ‘Vorsprung 2030’ which sets a date for the end of internal combustion engines is obviously not without risk. And the question, which also applies to all brands forced to change, is how to survive in this transition period. «Audi – says Wortmann – will evolve towards technology and continue to grow. We are developing the widest range of premium electric cars on the market ».

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A range that will however be polarized upwards. The top manager, in fact, explains that in the division of roles in the group “each brand will not do everything, but will focus on models consistent with the brand’s targets also in terms of economic sustainability”. Translated: there will be no electric A1 or an entry level car.

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In the evolution of Audi – and we have seen this with the Grandsphere concept that overturns the perspective of automobile development from the inside out – there is a strategic element: the software. “We have decided – says Hildegard Wortmann – to invest 12 billion euros in software”. The goal is also the development by the end of the decade of totally autonomous driving (level 5, according to the Sae table. “And it is a very ambitious plan (the VW group has put 27 billion euros on the plate) but the top manager is very confident about the possibilities offered by the software for artificial intelligence in combination with new generation sensors. We will see, if and when the cars that drive themselves will arrive on the market. Gigafactories play a key role in the development of electric cars. ” The Vw group – says Wortmann – has planned six plants in Europe in the list there are all the countries and even Italy is included ».

Meanwhile, Audi, like other brands of the VW group, faces a new group of competitors that overlook the car world: from the Chinese to players who also come from sectors as diverse as technology (this is the case of Xiaomi which has invested in smart car 10 billion or the increasingly intricate case Apple Car).

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