In a practical demonstration of the evolution of the motor car, Prof. Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi arrived at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in a 1930’s Horch 850.
â€œHorch was a synonym for the most exclusive and technically most advanced automobiles â€“ in Germany and beyond. Arriving in this vehicle, you get to enjoy the driving experience that many owners of a Horch enjoyed about 80 years ago â€“ a piloted driving experience,â€ said Stadler in his keynote address to CES. He detailed what he terms the â€œfour erasâ€ of automotive history. â€œIn the first era, men created a machine and sought to push its limits. Drivers strapped into the seats of their Silver Arrows, adjusted helmet and goggles, and drove like mad. The second era was about taming the machine. Making it reliable. Making it work for people. The third era is really the era from the time of this Horch until today â€“ constant gains in safety, efficiency, technology, and luxury. Most cars, under the hood, were not too different from Horch. Today, we see a period of major changes. I believe the fourth era is one in which we are moving from refining the automobile to redefining mobility.
â€œOur customers around the world tell us what they expect from an Audi:
â€¢ Mobility offerings that make sense in urban surroundings and match their individual needs
â€¢ Offerings that include navigating parking, traffic congestion and any other areas where driving pleasure is limited
â€¢ Offerings that allow them to be efficient while driving, commuting, and traveling
â€œThis is a real mega-trend. No matter who we ask, no matter where they live, people want to be connected. So if mobility used to be about connecting places and people, it is now about connecting the driver with the car, the car’s surroundings, the traffic infrastructure, and all of the other connected elements of their life.
â€œWhile the worlds of electronics and automotive are getting closer, the innovation cycles of our industries are very different. If you drive a 2012 model, remember that the engineers started to think about your car back in 2005. Seven years is not a lifetime for vehicles, but it’s several lifetimes for electronics, where the speed of innovation is much faster â€“ and the time it takes to get that innovation to market. This sounds like a big challenge. And it is! â€œI would rather call it a big opportunity.
An opportunity to redefine and synchronize the product development process â€“ both for automotive and electronics. And that’s why we are building on a global ecosystem of partners. We are proud to have recently entered into a flagship partnership that will allow us to demonstrate new technologies and new thinking. As the official supplier of premium automobiles to the International Olympic Committee, Audi and the IOC have announced a pioneering strategic agreement for the new IOC headquarters currently planned for Lausanne, Switzerland. We think this is an ideal testing environment for technologies like Audi connect and piloted parking. We look forward to sharing our expertise to bring these exciting plans, and this major project, to fruition,â€ he said.