Home » Audi Keynote at 2014 International CES by Prof. Rupert Stadler (Transcript)

Audi Keynote at 2014 International CES by Prof. Rupert Stadler (Transcript)

Prof. Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi AG delivered the Tech Titans keynote address at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas highliting the latest development on the piloted driving concept and many others…here is the full keynote address transcript at the CES 2014…


Speaker: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for this evening, Kunal Nayyar.

Kunal Nayyar – Actor, The Big Bang Theory

Thank you……Hi, how are you guys doing? Everyone good?

Many of you know me from my role as the astrophysicist Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali on The Big Bang Theory. Now one of my characters’ defining traits is his absolute inability to talk to women unless he is under the influence of alcohol. And I’m starting to think a similarly emboldening effect could be achieved without the alcohol – mind you – sitting in the driver’s seat of some of the vehicles you will see in the next half hour. It is an absolute pleasure to host Audi’s fourth year at the International CES for two reasons. First, this is my science fiction becomes just plain amazing mind blowing science. And second, I’m a big fan of Audi. When I got my first paycheck from the Big Bang Theory, I treated myself to the vehicle I lusted for a long time: the Audi TT. That’s why I’m happy to do something that’s very rare for an actor to do, okay, willingly and voluntarily accept a role where he’s sure to be upstaged by an inanimate object.

But here’s the thing. The vehicle once relegated to the domain of inanimate objects is becoming quite well animated. That’s why I am proud to join the likes of Dick Van Dyke in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider and Lindsay Lohan in Herbie Fully Loaded – actors who let the cars do the driving, and if we’re being honest in a couple of those cases, those cars did the acting too.

Notice that I didn’t mention Will Smith in iRobot. That’s because I know better than to cut on Will Smith and besides those driverless concept cars were Audi’s. So it’s all good. But all those films get at what has been an automated fantasy for as long as they have been automobiles. It’s what the word “automobile” actually means self-moving.

And while self-driving cars have captured the popular imagination as of late, few people realize that piloted driving has been part of Audi since its earliest days. Take a look.

Wow, wow. I guess what I’m saying is that what we call piloted driving today was once called a chauffeur doing his job. And this chauffeur and this classic vehicle have brought us two important guests. To get things started, I have the honor of introducing the President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, Gary Shapiro.

Gary Shapiro – President and CEO, CEA

Thank you so much. You know when you think of CES, cars may not be the very first thing as a consumer product that would come to mind. But the truth is the cars have become mobile technology platforms. Automakers are rapidly adding innovations that allow cars to be personalized and drivers to be connected.

And when you think of German engineering, you automatically think of cars. Audi has been at the forefront of the automotive industry for more than 100 years. Audi also has been pushing the envelope in infotainment, driver assistance systems, piloted driving and brilliant advanced lighting concepts. If you’ve seen the Audi displays at CES you can attest to that. Because Audi is such a premier leader in the automotive industry, I’m excited to present our keynote – keynoter tonight Rupert Stadler, the Chairman of the board and management at Audi AG.

Rupert was born in Germany in 1963. And after graduating from university with a degree in economics, Rupert joined the sales and marketing department of Audi AG in 1990. He became a member of the Board of Directors at Audi AG in 2003 and in the Chairman in 2007. Back in 2011 when Rupert gave his first CES keynote, the Audi A8 was chosen as the recipient of Edmunds.com’s Technology Breakthrough Award because of its groundbreaking technologies. It premiered the world’s first automotive touchpad for entering information for navigation destinations and Google Earth to provide realistic navigation mapping.

This evening, Rupert will focus on connectivity technologies and show how future innovation in the automotive industry directly ties into the consumer technology market. We are so delighted to welcome back to CES the Chairman of a worldwide premium automotive manufacturer. Please welcome Rupert Stadler.

Rupert Stadler – Chairman, Audi AG

Thank you, Gary. It’s great to be back to CES. We are proud of our efforts to leverage technology to make our vehicles safer, more efficient, and more exciting than ever before.

In 2011, we introduced our modular infotainment concept over here. In 2012, we showcased connectivity in the interior of the car and explained how we connect vehicles with their environment. And in 2013, we introduced our brand-new Matrix LED lighting technology and created a lot of excitement with our piloted driving and parking demo.

And today, we will share about connectivity, piloted driving and other rapidly evolving innovations. Most of all, we are showing the full spectrum of what it means to be a leader in innovation. By developing technologies that show our industry and government stakeholders around the world how to get from point A to point B more efficiently – and, of course, more safely.

Thank you, Gary for hosting us at CES, the undisputed stage for innovation.

So ladies and gentlemen, the great car and I arrived is a Horch 850 from the early 1930s. At the time, Horch was a synonym for the most exclusive and technically most advanced automobiles in Germany and beyond. A true premium brand of its era, one of the predecessor companies of Audi – and its spirit carries on. Arriving in this vehicle, you get to enjoy the driving experience that many owners of a Horch enjoyed about eighty years ago – a piloted driving experience. And today, we are redefining what “piloted driving” means for a new era.

But before we do that, let me take a step back to the history of the automobile. As I see it, that history falls into four eras. In the first era, men created a machine and sought to push its limits. Drivers strapped into the seats of their Silver Arrows, adjusted helmets and goggles, and drove like mad.

The second era was about taming the machine. Making it reliable. Making it work for people. Turning it from a novelty to an everyday life tool.

The third era is really the era from the time of this Horch until today – constant gains in safety, efficiency, technology, and luxury. Most cars, under the hood, were not too different from this Horch here.

Today, we see a period of major changes. And I believe the fourth era is one in which we are moving from refining the automobile, to redefining mobility.

Our customers around the world tell us what they expect from an Audi – and they talk about wanting: Mobility offerings that make sense in urban surroundings and match their individual needs; offerings that include navigating parking, traffic congestion and any other areas where driving pleasure is limited. And customers want offerings that allow them to be efficient while driving, commuting, and traveling.

This 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 – the driver with the car, the car’s surroundings, the traffic infrastructure, and all of the other connected elements of their life.

We are committed to constantly refining our automobiles so that they demonstrate, of course, best-in-class performance and efficiency, sporty and dynamic handling, safety and comfort, stunning design, premium fitting and top quality.

And we are equally committed to redefining mobility. That includes everything from how the automobile is powered with advances in electronics, hybrid-electrics, and advanced diesel technologies to closing the gap between consumer electronics and automotive electronics, closing the gap between how connected you are in your vehicle and how connected you are in your life, and closing the gap between science fiction and the reality on our roads. That is what we hope to highlight together with you today.

Our motto is “Vorsprung durch Technik.” To share with us what some of Audi’s most innovative engineers are working on, I would like to introduce our Chief Technical Officer Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg in his secret lab.

[Video demonstration]

Kunal Nayyar – Actor, The Big Bang Theory

Ladies and gentlemen, this is today’s piloted driving, and unlike the chauffeur with the funny hat, this Audi A7 does not need to take a lunch break.

Even better, all of the technology needed to pilot the piloted driving experience doesn’t take entire racks of servers like it used to just a year ago. In fact, I’m holding the entire thing right here in my hand. It’s what the people at Audi call the Z-Fast.

So what does this piece of electronics do? If this was a script of the Big Bang Theory I would say this is how under atmospheric conditions of normal humidity and temperature, ultrasonic feedback light emissions and describe polygons are united to achieve great object and infrastructure data fusion. But more simply, the Z-Fast is the brain of the piloted vehicle. It is fusing an incredible amount of information. It takes in 2.5 billion inputs per second and uses them to recognize surroundings, make decisions, then your vehicle’s trajectory and control it all so that the vehicle can take over for you when you are in traffic and park for you when you get where you’re headed.

You’ll hear a bit more about this Z-Fast in a moment. But suffice it to say that Audi engineers reduced a big engineering challenge to something a little bit smaller than an iPad.

Let’s go back to Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg now.

[Video demonstration]

Kunal Nayyar – Actor, The Big Bang Theory

Now I get to welcome my third vehicular co-star today the Audi S3 Sedan. Equally or more exciting depending on your perspective is who it is carrying.

Please welcome Jen-Hsun Huang, Co-founder, President and CEO of NVIDIA and Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility.

Now Ralph, I don’t want to turn you into the spokesperson for a car company. But this Audi S3 is the first car featuring embedded LTE. I heard you bring the fastest mobile communication standard into the car?

Ralph de la Vega – President and CEO, AT&T Mobility

Well CES is shaping up to be a big event for us, Kunal. And I think with the connected car is a major portion of it, so we’re so pleased to be a part of it here with Audi. Audi has always been on the cutting edge of technology and turned its focus toward that connected car long before most. Audi engineering provides the first ever on-board 4G LTE capability in the U.S. and thanks to the strength of the AT&T mobile network, we will be able to take your Audi driving experience to the absolute next level.

And today I can announce that we will power the Audi A3 family with AT&T 4G LTE.

You know that we have the fastest and most reliable LTE network in the U.S. and reliability is really important when you’re talking about your car. But we’re just not a network to our connected car partners. Some of you may have been aware that we announced this morning something called AT&T Drive. And we announced this at our developers summit.

In short, it’s a solution that we can take to automakers like Audi so they can innovate but still differentiate. We’ve got all the tools that an automaker needs to create an awesome connected car experience. But most important, we’re flexible. There’s no one-size-fits-all or a solution to the car today. Cars are different, drivers are different and innovators like Audi, they plan to offer something that’s different than the other guy. There may be no more exciting space to watch in wireless than the automobile and we’re driving innovation, so automakers can take 4G LTE speeds and take them to their customers. So thank you very much. We’re very honored to be a part of this.

Kunal Nayyar – Actor, The Big Bang Theory

Thank you. Thank you guys. Now let’s turn to our second guest on stage Jen-Hsun from NVIDIA.

Jen-Hsun, electronic devices for the computing industry are kind of different from what you see in the automotive business. What are the opportunities you see in working with Audi?

Jen-Hsun Huang – Co-founder, President and CEO, NVIDIA

Well if we’re in the middle of the mobile computing revolution, then the car is the most advanced mobile computer. To build their amazing cars, Audi adopts the most advanced technologies at a lightning pace. They’re able to do this because of this visionary MIB modular computer system approach that they created. Let me show it to you.

It is so small it fits in my pocket. This is the MIB module. The same model with the scalable razor processors from NVIDIA powers a wide range of cars and a wide range of use cases from infotainment with Google Earth to the digital instrument cluster to the Z-Fast piloted driving system. Audi has repeatedly been the first to adopt our technologies – starting from the NVIDIA Tegra 2, the world’s first dual-core mobile processor to Tegra 3, the world’s first quad-core mobile processor to Tegra 4 last year.

And now with our new Tegra K1, a 192 processor core super chip that we announced just yesterday, Audi and NVIDIA will partner once again. Tegra K1 is built from exactly the same parallel GPU architecture that powers the world’s top 10 greenest supercomputers. Audi and NVIDIA engineers are going to put the supercomputing chip into your future car. I can’t wait to see what Audi does with Tegra K1.

Kunal Nayyar – Actor, The Big Bang Theory

Thank you. Thank you. I know advanced braking technology wasn’t on the agenda. So I’m sorry to have to stop you right there in order to keep us on track. But thank you. Thank both of you for your insight and the awesome things your companies make.

It’s not often these two mobile technology gurus find themselves inside the final product at least not without a shrink rate or something. But then again this is CES, so maybe we’ll be seeing that shrink rate pretty soon.

Let’s return to the present. Once again I give you Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler.

Rupert Stadler – Chairman, Audi AG

So with the most innovations in automotive engineering relying on electrics or electronics, as we heard from our partners at NVIDIA and AT&T, it becomes evident why it is just as important for us to be at electronics shows as it is to be at auto shows.

While 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 2008. Seven years is not a lifetime for vehicles, but it’s several lifetimes for electronics, where the speed of innovation is much faster – and the time it takes to get that innovation to market. This sounds like a big challenge. And it is!

Although I would rather call it a big opportunity, an opportunity to redefine and synchronize the product development process both for automotive and electronics. And that’s why we are building on a global ecosystem of partners. In addition to the partners you just met, we are also working with Qualcomm, a leading supplier of innovative wireless solutions. They provide the hardware to bring high-speed LTE connectivity to our cars.

Thanks to this collaboration, in the summer of 2013, Audi became the first carmaker worldwide to bring fully integrated LTE services to the market.

Earlier I said that we listen carefully to what our customers tell us. One of the pieces of feedback we hear about automotive electronics is they are way too complex to handle, especially while driving. Our approach is simple and straightforward: More functions, less distraction. We accomplish this through a system we call “human machine interface”. It facilitates the dialog between driver and car and it has undergone a revolutionary change.

At CES, we see the electronics industry’s commitment to user experience. And we’ve been focusing on improving the user experience as well. So we launched the rotary pushbutton with touchpad in the Audi A8 in 2010, later for the Audi A6. In the meantime, we rolled out this concept to the compact segment. Today, you will find this feature in our Audi A3 family.

And thanks to our joint efforts with Google – when you buckle into your Audi, your interface will feel familiar, because your Audi is now more intuitive than ever. The touchpad responds to your handwriting. And with voice activation, you can interact with your car without taking your hands off the wheel. These systems are part of the Audi S3 we see here on stage – truly a broad variety of latest electronics in a compact car.

And the future is almost here. The virtual cockpit of the new Audi TT offers a unique operating and display concept. The display is customized for each driver. It automatically presents the most relevant information, depending on whether you are parking or stuck in a traffic jam. Information is easy to locate, speech functions are optimized and system performance is outstanding.

So let’s turn to Ulrich Hackenberg to learn more about it.

[Video Demonstration]

Dr.Ulrich Hackenberg – Chief Technical Officer, Audi AG

It’s a world premiere at the CES 2014. Ladies and gentlemen this concept car is our technological spearhead.

Let me give you a sense of the power we have on this stage. This car combines a powerful 110 kilowatt electric motor with a V8 engine. Together they perform at 515 kilowatts equivalent to 700 HP. In one body you have a muscle car and you have a very efficient plug-in hybrid. We use lightweight material such as aluminium, carbon fiber to help this car go more than 90 miles on a single gallon of gas. This is a bold step forward to CO2 reduction.

As a synonym for the innovation power of Audi, this concept car has everything you may expect from automotive electronics and from human machine interface system for safer and more convenient driving. Even more this car would be able to come on stage in a piloted driving mode thanks to the Z-Fast you’ve heard about as it is the brain of the car. The Z-Fast integrates the vehicle’s long-range radar, its mid-range radar, its video camera, its top view cameras, its laser scanner, data from the navigation system and other connected car technologies, and last but not least ultrasonic data from the front and the sides of the car.

This tells you about the tremendous technical complexity of Z-Fast. Given the extremely powerful drive-train of the car you can understand why I wanted to drive this baby by myself. It’s just fun to drive.

When you look at the Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight concept, you must admit it is a true eye-catcher. Its eyes combine LED headlamps with bright laserlight. And because we knew this glance into the future has to compete with the lights of the street in Las Vegas. We made it even more stunning.

For many years, we have pioneered new lighting technologies. Just some months ago, we introduced the Matrix LED headlamps in our A8 sedan. It’s the most advanced lighting technology currently available for series production. Matrix LEDs are designed for daylight quality. Our software is managing each LED individually and turns of lights that would dazzle oncoming drivers, bikers or even pedestrians.

Looking forward, Matrix LED will become available to even more Audi models and more countries, including the United States. The future and that’s what we talk about at the CES is laser light. Laser light is again sharper, it’s again safer and even more efficient than LED. And that’s what you see here on stage and tomorrow at our booth.

These headlamps are three times stronger than LEDs. The light beam extends the length of five football fields, imagine that. Later this year, Audi’s new 2014 more race car will also feature laserlight and hopefully we’ll be successful winning race. And we actually are working on a new model to put laser light into series production soon.

At Audi, we invented the modular longitudinal matrix, that’s another story, to develop and to produce cars. That sounds complex, ladies and gentlemen. But actually it’s about reducing complexity and increasing flexibility. Very important, when you want to be successful and to develop and manufacture cars – First, the matrix system allows for streamlined and efficient production; and second, it allows for flexibility when bringing the latest technologies to our cause.

Let me give you a quick example. When new electronics enters the market we are able to upgrade the hardware and software of the modular infotainment system. So it is easy to keep up with the latest infotainment and assistance services. In other words, when German engineering meets Silicon Valley, you get the kind of user experience only Audi can offer. That’s what we mean when we talk about synchronizing innovation cycles in electronics and in automotive. And that’s why we join forces with technology leaders like Google and like NVIDIA.

A few hours ago, we announced the Open Automotive Alliance, which is a global common ecosystem to bring smart technologies to the car. They make vehicular electronics even safer and even more intuitive to use. To learn more about, I would like to invite you to our press conference tomorrow. And I hope you have an opportunity to explore the Audi booth.

Among lots of innovations you will see, for example, a captivating demo of the Audi laserlight. The world premiere of the new Audi TT interior featuring the virtual cockpit with high resolution next-generation of Audi MM, MMI and easy to handle applications for navigation and for driving assistance. The third generation of the Audi TT has all ingredients to add a new chapter to the success story of our legendary compact sports car.

As an engineer, I take pride as a preview of TT generations that my team and me brought to the streets. I’m 100% committed to making sure that Audi continues to push Vorsprung durch Technik. My team of more than 10,000 engineers worldwide shares this commitment. We are designing a driving experience you don’t find anywhere else. That is a promise of Audi. And we deliver on that promise as you will see here at the CES. Thank you very much for your attention and see you later.

Kunal Nayyar – Actor, The Big Bang Theory

Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Hackenberg. And thank you, Mr. Stadler for the chance to kick out with you today. I’m looking forward to becoming an Audi driver again and I just have one question. Can I have that one?

Self-driving cars, secret labs, lasers, if I wasn’t seeing it all in front of me, I would think that you are pitching me a movie. But we’ve seen the future here on stage. And it’s been a pleasure for this actor who plays a physicist to host this celebration of engineers and engineering this evening. That’s it for me but I’ll let Mr. Stadler have the last word on Audi’s vision for the future of mobility.

Rupert Stadler – Chairman, Audi AG

Thank you again, Kunal. Thank you very much. One of the things we do at Audi is that we look beyond. We are pushing the limits and thinking beyond the horizon. We were first to come to CES in 2011. Today, we are in synchronized with the electronics industry. And we don’t stop with adding hardware to the product. At Audi, it’s also about brainware – how we think about society.

We think about how to sync up with the future of mobility and that requires taking a more holistic look. The future of mobility is increasingly linked to our urban future. Twenty years from now, two-thirds of our planet’s population will live in mega cities. What will be the city of the future, how will it look like? Will noise, pollution, and traffic increase or be under control?

In terms of mobility, in 2050 will our intersections and traffic lights look like the ones we know? Or will we see smart roads with integrated electronics to guide us our way? If we have new modes of transportation, how will they interact with each other? Will future generations even drive? What will the mobility ecosystem look like?

These are just a few of the questions we address in the Audi Urban Future Initiative. Since 2010, we have partnered with architects, urban planners and futurists, seeking their ideas and gaining their perspective.

And 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 in Switzerland.

As an exclusive mobility consultant, we will develop premium mobility solutions for the new campus and will support an international architecture competition briefing. 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.

To further propel the dialog about urban mobility, Audi has also launched an international mobility award, the Audi Urban Future Award. This year, interdisciplinary teams from three continents will come up with premium mobility solutions for an exciting urban context. We kicked off this year’s contest with an online speed pitch of three teams in the United States. In only two weeks, we saw more than 10 million Twitter impressions. We take this as an encouraging sign that the future of urban mobility is gaining more and more importance worldwide.

Now it is my great pleasure to announce the winning team who will take part in the 2014 Audi Urban Future Award. It is Philip Parsons, urban planner and founder of Sasaki Strategies, and Federico Parolotto, mobility expert and principal of Mobility in Chain.

Their topic was to create a new online market place for mobility. Congratulations, Philip and Federico! And good luck for your project!

So ladies and gentlemen, we have looked beyond the car, and we will continue to look beyond our time. Already, this thinking has shaped our approach towards connected cars and evolving automobiles to become the largest social mobile device people own.

As I said earlier today, we are bringing people together both physically and, of course, emotionally. Mobility is always about connectivity. That’s what you’ve seen here today – mobility, connectivity, and Audi’s commitment to not just refine automobiles, but to redefine the mobility. And this needs as Ulrich Hackenberg said “always Vorsprung durch Technik”. Thanks a lot for listening. Thank you.

Kunal Nayyar – Actor, The Big Bang Theory

I have a special surprise. The most important car and computer magazines in Germany, Auto Bild and Computer Bild, honored the Audi spirit of innovation by awarding Rupert Stadler with the Pioneer Award for piloted driving, plus three other major awards for high technology in cars.

Please welcome on the stage Dr. Hans Hamer, publishing and managing director of Axel Springer; and Axel Telzerow, Editor and Chief of Computer Bild Group; Tomas Hirsch Berger, Vice Editor and Chief Auto Bild Group; Ricky Hudi and Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg.

Speaker: Good evening everyone. Dear Rupert Stadler, Dear Ulrich Hackenberg, Mr. Hudi, on behalf of the entire Axel Springer publishing group and on behalf of the entire Auto Bild and Computer Bild group, we are very pleased and proud to hand over four connected car awards to you.

Audi has won three categories: first one, internet; second, navigation; third, telephone connection and in addition to that, you have won the Pioneer category for piloted driving and with four awards in total, you are the most successful car manufacturer. Congratulation to you. You and your team, you did a very well job. Great job. Congratulation.

Rupert Stadler – Chairman, Audi AG

Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot. I think it is really a great honor to receive such a lot of awards. And this will work now without paper. I only would like to say thank you to all of the Audi engineers, Ulrich Hackenberg to you and your team. I think the Audi guys do really a good job. They are pushing always towards the future and we do everything to position the brand where the brand belongs to on the top of the automotive industry.

Thanks a lot. Have a nice evening and enjoy the evening. Thanks to you.



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