What are the challenges of next-generation mobility? Tonight, and for the first time ever, Audi Innovation Research (AIR) has joined forces with Audi mobility and Audi Code (Continuous Optimization and Digital Engineering) to share their thoughts on the future of mobility. With each team operating at different points within the innovation cycle, the audience is given unique access to a more holistic and diversified perspective.
“Historically, the horse was our first choice of transportation; a loyal companion we could talk to, that reacted to our actions…like following our whistle. The car as a machine has greatly reduced this emotional link. The former interactions have been replaced with one-way communication. Our companion has become a machine. With AI coming into place, the car can become an intelligent soulmate – knowing all about us. It can communicate with us, and, who knows…maybe even follow our whistle.”
“Mobility on demand” is the focus for Maria. As Director of Audi mobility located here in San Francisco, she takes a very close look at the mobility market. What drives the growing demand are the various human mobility needs. For Eric Sanchez, CEO from startup Revl, the choice of transportation is use-case driven: “In my day-to-day routine, it’s most important to get to my destination as quickly as possible. In that case, the type of car I’m in doesn’t matter that much. That changes, of course, when I’m planning a road trip for the weekend – then the route becomes the destination, and my choice of car a top priority.”
In order to address the different customer needs, Maria’s team focuses on digital service solutions. “Talking about future mobility, independence is the one word that sums it all up. People want to be flexible in every aspect of their lives. So a new target group evolves, which doesn’t like to be bound to long-term responsibilities, but is very curious and likes to try new products. Quick access to mobility becomes more important than actual ownership of a car. Our service ‘Audi on demand’ for example, is customized to this new kind of lifestyle: The Audi on demand app grants users access to a virtual garage where they can choose from the entire Audi fleet– a SUV for a ski weekend or a convertible for a weekend trip to Napa. And the flexibility isn’t restricted to the choice of car. ‘Audi on demand’ seeks to address the customer’s mobility needs as well as their time.
“As a premium service provider, we differentiate our product by enabling our customer with the added value of independence. Driving becomes an experience, without the well-known pain points,” says Maria and refers to the waiting lines at a traditional car rental. “Your car will be delivered right to your doorstep. We save our customers time, so they can spend it enjoying the ride. A premium position in the future mobility market will be driven by the question: What’s my time worth?”
“Our focus lies on multi-cloud computing, automation of software development processes and solutions for data-driven business,” says Patrick. “In San Francisco, we have the freedom to work on prototypes and test them in the market. Afterwards, we provide our results to all brands of the Group for an international roll-out.”
That’s the daily business. Besides that, the CODE team is working on various pilot projects, the topics virtual and augmented reality are becoming more and more a field of interest. This evening, the participants have the opportunity to experience the legendary race of Le Mans almost live in the pit lanes: Glasses on and action!
While Florian is getting into details, the AI enthusiasts in the crowd become visible. With Zeynep Akata, Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley, Florian hit a nerve. “I liked Florian's idea of generating a human–machine connection by using quantum chips integrated in human brains. They could enhance our way of thinking, so we might be able to focus more, do difficult calculations or pay attention to details, which is what machines are better at.”
The conversation doesn’t stop when the speakers leave the stage. The presentations have prompted new thoughts and a lot to talk about. Maaike Doyer, CFO Business Models Inc., is familiar with the meet-up culture in San Francisco. One year ago, she has opened an office for the US market in Downtown. “In the Bay Area, everything is about networking. People are really interested and open to share their ideas and experiences. Everyone’s looking for the next big thing and a partner to and make it happen.”