80 percent of innovations which Audi implements in its cars directly or indirectly depend on electronics and hence on semiconductor technology. Even today, Audi models contain between 6,000 and 8,000 semiconductors, without which the rapid increase in networking and new functions would not have been possible. This trend is set to continue upward because more sensors, more networked systems and more calculation operations will require more high-performance semiconductors.
The result is that technology cycles in semiconductor development are coming to determine innovation opportunities in the automobile industry. While an average of seven years elapse between two vehicle generations, the product cycle in the semiconductor industry is a mere 15 to 18 months. Audi makes every effort to react quickly and flexibly in order to harness the potential of new chip generations with a view to creating ever more customer benefit.
Thanks to its close cooperation with leading companies especially in consumer electronics, Audi has become able to rapidly deploy new in-car technologies.
One of its most notable partners is NVIDIA. Cooperation with this company based in Santa Clara, California, began as early as 2005. The most recent result is the Tegra 40 chip powering the new Audi tablet. Audi’s MIB (modular infotainment matrix) permits updating of hardware in short cycles, thus continuously ensuring that the system reflects the state of technology. For example, Qualcomm, another close cooperation partner of Audi’s, is the supplier of the LTE module for a fast onboard online connection.
A key factor for innovation: the Progressive SemiConductor Program (PSCP)
Audi places extremely stringent requirements on semiconductors to be installed in its car, particularly regarding criteria such as durability, long-term quality and function across a wide temperature range. It is against this background that Audi operates the Progressive SemiConductor Program (PSCP), which is a key factor for future innovation.
Under PSCP, which Audi initiated in late 2010, the supplier of system components continues to be an important contact. In addition, Audi’s engineers directly interface with the semiconductor makers, leading to high efficiency and effectiveness as well as enabling innovations at intervals that come closer and closer to the high pace of the consumer electronics industry.
In software, too, Audi has been resolutely driving development of its own solutions. As early as 2009, Audi founded e.solutions GmbH to serve this purpose. The company is a joint venture of Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AUDI AG, and Elektrobit Automotive GmbH. e.solutions GmbH buys function software, such as for navigation or telephony, on the world market and proceeds to integrate it into its modular software suite developed in-house and running on NVIDIA’s Tegra chips. A current example is the online update of the navigational map.
Equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice.