Ladies and Gentlemen,
mobility of the future is about regaining and keeping freedom. Giving a keynote at the Berlin Falling Walls Conference yesterday, I asked myself how we can overcome the walls between cars and the city.
We have experienced how the car has been transformed from an object of mobility into an object of standstill – especially in megacities. The original idea behind the automobile was to travel faster and more convenient from A to B. What do we face today?
Traffic jams that keep people inside their cars on the streets of megacities for up to one month a year.
The search for parking space that accounts for another week we lose every single year. Plus, the impact of mobility on our planet: We can only afford individual mobility in the future if we make it sustainable.
It’s all about finding new efficiency formulas: using space, time and resources as smart as possible.
It’s not about banning traffic or setting up random rules such as car-free days.
Without individual mobility, we’d all lose our freedom of choice. And without mobility, our economy would stop. How can we reinvent individual mobility in a way that cars will remain objects of desire. Cars that positively contribute to the cities’ development? We would not be Audi if our answer wasn’t “Vorsprung durch Technik.”
With Audi e-tron and g-tron, we are pursuing the goal of emission-free and hassle-free driving.
Intelligent onboard assistants and Audi connect services enhance time efficiency and safety.
Just think of navigation systems that are updated online. Or think of traffic lights that connect with cars so that the driver always has green lights on his journey.
Here in Berlin, every third traffic light is already compatible with our new traffic-light technology.
It’s about autonomous parking and autonomous driving. Both add quality of life – as well as safety – and space to our cities. You won't believe how much smaller parking garages can be when a car won’t need our presence in there anymore. In the near future, you won't have to keep your hands on the steering wheel all the time. That constant stop and go in traffic jams can be very tiring.
In a spectacular world premiere three weeks ago, we arranged for an Audi RS 7* to drive without a driver at race speed on the Hockenheim racetrack!
Not only our products, but also our new mobility offers can be answers to the needs of people living in cities and urban areas. People keep asking me about our position on car sharing. We don’t want to imitate rental car services! Who would a premium customer want to share with? Another premium customer!
In Stockholm, we have just launched Audi unite. We address a new generation of urban customer groups and give them flexible access to cars with a true premium experience. Up to five friends, co-workers or neighbors chose one car and share it. Our smartphone app integrates driving into people’s digital life. They can reserve the car and locate it online. We take care of washing, insurance, tax, and service.
Audi select is an innovative mobility offer for people who want to reward themselves – without any long-term obligations. Audi select allows customers to drive up to three cars per year at an all-inclusive monthly rate. Audi select offers a new access to our product range from the A3 Sportback e-tron* to a high performance car such as the Audi R8*.
Then we have a new corporate car-sharing model called Audi shared fleet. We provide companies with a fleet “paid per use” – without any basic fees. Employees can use the cars as well for private purposes and pay themselves.
New technologies, new services – and a new approach to mobility in cities – one thing is sure:
We must not use yesterday’s tools to solve tomorrow’s problems. The car will have a permanent place in the urban environment only if we can convince cities and their citizens that it belongs there.
Therefore, we have to analyze the chaos of the city. We will soon find out: The so-called chaos is an order we do not yet understand. This work enables us to bridge public and private transportation. In the future, switching from one form of mobility to another must not take more than two or three minutes!
Our mission is to decode the DNA of urban mobility. This consists of technological, political and cultural aspects. In 2010, we started working with the megacities of the world in the Audi Urban Future Initiative.
We paved the way for four global teams to participate in this year’s Audi Urban Future Award.
The Urban Future Award team in Mexico City is questioning whether individual mobility can solve problems it has caused in the first place. Therefore an urban planner, a data specialist and a city think tank started a large crowd-sourced mobility database. With a population of more than 21 million people, the main issue of this megacity is traffic jams.
Much more space will be left on our streets when traffic one day manages itself to spread evenly.
To make that happen, we need to merge and synchronize public, private, social and corporate data.
Cars will collect data for us in order to identify patterns of mobility.
Then the city will become predictable. And we can take decisions based on solid information.
The common data platform and new algorithms will be the core of a new “operating system” for the city.
The second nominee team is from Somerville near Boston, Massachusetts, where space is a rare good.
This team has been involved in the planning of a brand-new district. I see two main questions related to their project: What is the logic of investments for the infrastructure of connected mobility? The investor of a new development area is willing to buy a fleet of cars with autonomous parking service for future tenants. Because this technology saves 30 percent of space in the garage. Second question: What is the logic of urbanizing technologies?
Urbanizing technologies means tailoring them for future city needs. While my industry today is taking decisions on cars for 2020-plus, city planners today are laying the foundation for cities of the 2030ies.
Therefore, it is important to synchronize innovation cycles and planning horizons. The Boston team developed methods for simulating the positive effects of innovations on the consumption of space.
This allows us to calculate gains in efficiency. And a totally new architecture might be the result.
In Seoul, South Korea, our third nominees studied the impact of digitial life on the traditional values in Asia. The district of Gangnam serves as a trend laboratory: Bright and shiny screens on every building, people constantly using their smartphones all in all, a new digital lifestyle. Understanding the trends of Gangnam helps to predict the future. In a media-driven world, how can the car become a social communication tool as well? Today, a car is a symbol of status: the bigger, the better. Tomorrow, the car might become a truly smart and social mobile device. An interface to the city – displaying the mood and life of its driver and how the society benefits from him or her.
And Team Four here in Berlin explored the question: How can various modes of transportation – public and private – form a smart network? Especially when bridging the "last mile." The team had the idea to offer a car-sharing service with autonomous driving for the last mile in a business district. Our individual freedom will be increased if we all share a lot more: People will share more private data if they know two things: they will help the whole of society and they will benefit themselves.
We spoke to elevator manufacturers who use algorithms based on individual destinations.
That’s how they predict future streams of mobility and control their elevators. Just imagine how much better you could control traffic if everyone of us shared where he or she wants to go in the near future.
This will result in self-optimizing, self-learning systems.
Ladies and Gentlemen, those four different cities stand for thousands of others worldwide. In 2015, we will continue our work in the Audi Urban Future Initiative and call for urban planning partnerships all over the world. I am very pleased to see that more and more local governments want to set up smart cities with the latest technologies. This is why Joseph Curtatone, the Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts for example is here today. It’s not about upgrading the infrastructure of concrete and steel. We want: The next leap in mobility! Therefore our technologies aim to reduce the space cars will require, optimize the traffic flow and help making urban mobility sustainable. New networks between cities and cars will improve the quality of urban life. Therefore we call the cities to join our "Urban Agenda": We will develop close partnerships with selected cities. Premium in future means more space in cities, more time for citizens.
*Fuel consumption figures of the models named above
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1.7 - 1.5
Combined fuel consumption using just the combustion engine in l/100km: 4.5
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 39 - 35
Combined CO2 emissions using just the combustion engine: 104
Audi RS 7 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 9.5
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 221
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 14.9 – 12.4
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 349 - 289