Audi R&D in Beijing was founded in 2013, and its mission is to globalize Audi technology and product development. As part of our global development network, the development center works closely with all Technical Development areas in Ingolstadt. At the same time, by being located right in the capital of China the center is close to the customers in the brand’s most important market. Audi also develops region-specific modifications for Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other Asian markets at its electrics/electronics competence center in Beijing.
The R&D center in Beijing is part of Audi China, and the engineering offices and some of the shops and laboratories are housed in its new building. Its location within the world-renowned artists district, the 798 Art District, generates a creative atmosphere. That is very helpful to the employees of the R&D center in Beijing, because their work includes defining technical requirements for new products, trend scouting and design input.
The R&D center in Beijing also maintains close contact with research and development departments of the Volkswagen Group in China, of the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture as well as Chinese government ministries and universities. The center also collaborates with Chinese business partners on projects for integrating new information and entertainment products and services into the vehicle. With employees from 15 nations, the R&D center in Beijing is a living example of internationalization at Audi.
Large bandwidth: from concept definition to tough tests
The R&D center in Beijing covers all key tasks related to Technical Development at Audi – from concept definition and design to the technical areas of drive systems and chassis – and conducts vehicle testing in the most remote regions of the country. This makes it possible to customize vehicle and component concepts to the needs of Asian customers in the early development phase. The tough testing trips typically follow a route from the cold north of China, over the deserts in the west and up some of the world’s highest elevation roads, which are nearly 5,000 meters (16,404.2 ft) above sea level.
Chassis engineers have been working in Beijing since 2012. Their focus is on country-specific modification of driver assistance systems and chassis tuning that meets the specific needs of Chinese customers. In March 2015, R&D Beijing put a driver assistance system test bench into operation. It enables calibration of existing systems, but it will also be used for future developments in piloted driving.
Another core task of all departments at the Audi R&D center in Beijing will be to extend and qualify local suppliers.
New: Test lab for electric mobility
Another important mission of the R&D center in Beijing is to develop new technology on the path towards zero-emission mobility. In March 2015, Audi opened a test lab for high-voltage batteries in the Audi China building together with Volkswagen and the joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and Shanghai-Volkswagen. Together with its partners, Audi is developing drive batteries for electric mobility here. The test lab conducts such tests as stress tests for batteries under temperatures ranging from -40 to +120°C. and relative humidity levels of up to 95 percent.
Focal point topic: Infotainment and networking for Asia
Currently, the most established area of the R&D center in Beijing is in the Electrics/Electronics area. There is a history here, because starting in 2008 engineers from China and the rest of the world already began to work on specific infotainment systems for customers in China, Japan and Korea. Developers in Beijing also adapt Audi technologies to Asia-specific standards, such as in the areas of mobile wireless, traffic information and TV broadcasting.
In 2013, Audi assigned these developers to the new Audi R&D center in Beijing where around 150 employees are employed at the Asian Competence Center for Electrics/Electronics. They start with the work of their colleagues at AUDI AG and then develop tailor-made applications for Asian markets from the base modules for infotainment, navigation and driver assistance systems. In addition, there are strategic partnerships with Chinese providers in the area of telematics and connectivity, so that the best solution can be offered for every customer.
This means that the R&D center in Beijing is also working on future mobility concepts in the urban environment of Chinese metropolises. The Chinese government is sponsoring the development of intelligent traffic systems for mega-cities.
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