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Audi Working On Systems For Tomorrow: Stadler


The CEO of car maker Audi
used his International CES keynote speech
to stress his company is combining horsepower
with processing power as German
engineering meets Silicon Valley.

Rupert Stadler, also chairman of the board
of management of Audi AG, added a touch
of another part of California — Hollywood —
to the speech as he was introduced by noted
character actor James Cromwell.

Cromwell stated he starred in the 2004 science fiction
film “I, Robot,” which envisioned a world populated
with robots by 2035. He rhetorically asked whether
Audi was creating a world of science fact
rather than science fiction with its advanced
auto electronics.

With that, Consumer Electronics Association
president/CEO Gary Shapiro and
Stadler drove onto the stage in an e-tron Spyder,
a hybrid R8, a pretty spectacular-looking
car no matter if it were packed with vacuum
tubes instead of computers. Shapiro
then introduced the 20-year auto veteran to
the packed auditorium.

Stadler proceeded to detail how his company is working
hard on electronics systems for the automotive world of tomorrow, including infotainment as well as driver-
assistance systems. “Our plan is to integrate the
best technologies from the best partners available and
adapt these for the automotive world. And we intend to
pick up the pace of innovation even further.”

He described an Audi “connected car” that would
require virtually no local data backup within the vehicle;
it would pull all its information — from music to navigation
— from servers on the Internet via UMTS and,
coming soon, via LTE.

One result of this new connectivity might even be autonomous
driving, basically a car that drives itself. He
showed a film clip of an Audi driving up Pike’s Peak,
doing exactly that.

Also joining Stadler on stage was Jensen Huang,
CEO of Nvidia, a company that provides graphics processors
for many Audis. The chips enabled the first
integration of Google Earth navigation and onscreen
graphics in the A8, A7 and A6. Huang then demoed
a prototype of the 3D graphics the newest chips were
capable of.

Stadler ended by saying the “car of the future will be
part of the mobile world. And that’s what we’re driving