Just like Simba and Mufasa, Skywalker and Vader, Michael and Vito Corleone, Audi has started to outgrow and outshine its parents.
It has recently been revealed that whilst parent-company Volkswagen continue to resolve their emissions scandal – dubbed ‘dieselgate’ to some – Audi have increased their research and development budget to ensure they can remain progressive and pioneers in vehicular technology and design.
Audi have had their pedal to the metal for some time now speeding towards industry success – we have previously reported on several of their more recent accolades including record sales in the United States and being voted the top brand by consumers – so it comes as no surprise that they are not looking to slow down anytime soon. Audi’s member of the board of management for technical development (who is most definitely in need of a catchier job title) Dr Stefan Knirsch confirmed that the research and development budget had increased since the scandal broke. He is quoted as saying: “Yes our R&D budget has increased since then. Approximately by five percent, I would say. We are aware as a company that we have to spend money on new technology.”
Perhaps even more notable than the investment in their R&D (that’s industry speak for ‘research and development’ to you and I) is the first use of the term ‘dieselgate’ by someone affiliated with the actual company involved.
Of the new technologies Knirsch is referring to, Audi will pay particular focus on hydrogen’s role in the automobile industry’s future, as long as they can sustain their infrastructure along with the developments. Of the money spent on new technology, he said: “That includes something like the hydrogen fuel cell for example and we will never harm our future. We didn’t have to compromise any existing projects due to dieselgate,” Knirsch went on to state that infrastructure remains a bottleneck in the deployment of hydrogen vehicles. “Bringing the vehicle to market isn’t so far away in terms of the vehicle development. It is the infrastructure that will hold us back. We won’t bring a vehicle to market unless the infrastructure can support owners using the vehicle. We don’t want our owners compromised,” he said.
Other technological advancements the company are looking to invest in include the trend on everyone’s lips autonomous driving. “We have leadership within the VW Group for this technology and we’ve been working on it since 2009. We now have the platform in Germany for high density maps and real time mapping as well, which are both crucial for autonomous driving,” said Knirsch.