Blog Archives

Audi gets in on the flying car action

The “pop.up next” concept – Source: Reuters

Audi, Airbus and ItalDesign have teamed up to develop a vehicle that is both autonomous and can fly. 

Last year at the Geneva motor show, it was reported that Airbus and ItalDesign were co-developing a flying car concept, which was based on wheeled pods that could be picked up by flying drones. 

Revealed yesterday at this year’s show, the Pop.Up concept has been developed further, with Audi stepping in; the concept now bears the name Pop.Up Next.

The addition of Audi has resulted in electric and autonomous driving being apart of the vehicle, while Airbus has been refining its quadcopter top and working together with the design firm and the automaker on how to better hand off the two-seat passenger capsule between the wheels on the ground and the rotors in the sky. 

In the distant future this vehicle could transport people in cities quickly and conveniently on the road and in the air, at the same time solving traffic problems. The dominant interior feature is a 49-inch screen, while interaction between humans and the machine is performed by speech and face recognition, eye-tracking and a touch function.

“Last year Pop.Up marked a new — and as we believe highly significant — chapter in the transportation sector by bringing together two worlds, road mobility and air transport, which had never previously met,” commented Jörg Astalosch, CEO of Italdesign.

“The close cooperation with the premium brand Audi confirms that the project could become the standard bearer for future mobility, based on new technologies, sustainability, digitalisation and urbanisation; all sectors in which Audi is a leading company.”


Tagged with: , ,

Audi to recall 127,000 vehicles

Germany’s automotive watchdog has detected illicit emission-control software in Audi’s latest Euro-6 diesel models and has ordered a recall of 127,000 vehicles, Bild am Sonntag has reported.

Audi, a Volkswagen unit, said in a statement that “the engine control software for the vehicles in question will be completely revised, tested and submitted to the KBA for approval.”

In November, Audi announced a recall of 5,000 cars in Europe for a software fix after discovering they emitted too much nitrogen oxide, the polluting gas that parent Volkswagen concealed from U.S. regulators in its 2015 “dieselgate” scandal.

Several Audi models were also affected and Audi has been accused in media reports of having devised the so-called defeat devices years earlier but not to have installed them in its vehicles at that time. 

Tagged with: ,

Audi recalls cars due to fire risk

A German online trade publication has reported that Audi has recalled 330,000 cars in Germany due to possible problems with electrical connections.

It has been stated that the recalls are due to a potential problem with the electrical connections for the auxiliary heater which may cause fires.

A spokesman for Audi, a unit of Volkswagen said the recall affected models A4, A5, A5 Cabriolet and Q5 built between April 2011 and May 2015.

He said a few customers had reported a smell of burning in their cars but there had been no fires or other damage.

Audi was already forced to recall 250,000 cars in the U.S. in October because of the same problem.

Tagged with: , ,

Audi starts training for big data

Under the “” motto, Audi has started a further-training campaign focused on big data and artificial intelligence.

Expertise in these areas are essential for the development of cars driving in piloted mode, intelligent robots and digital mobility services. 

“In our areas of the digital future, the rapid development of new IT skills is a critical competitive factor. The topics of artificial intelligence and big data play a key role here,” stated Michael Schmid, Head of the Audi Academy.

This starts with basic programs for new entrants without any knowledge of programming, such as the basis of data analysis, and ends with courses at university level on topics such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

All courses offered are individually tailored to the needs of the various employees.

Tutors from the relevant departments at Audi support the participants with queries and learning projects, and ensure a close technical connection with Audi. This further training takes place in parallel with the participants’ work; the “Audi students” are released to participate for ten hours per week.

Following the completion of the course the employees are awarded a so called nanodegree from the online platform.

The main goal is for employees from all departments to gain qualifications in the area of big data, thus helping to push forward with Audi’s transformation into a digital car company. 

Tagged with: ,

Audi recalls 5000 diesel cars

Audi is recalling around 5000 cars in Europe for a software fix after discovering they emitted too much nitrogen oxide, the polluting gas that Volkswagen hid from U.S. regulators in the 2015 “dieselgate” scandal.

In 2015 Volkswagen was found to have manipulated engine software so that the vehicles would meet the correct nitrogen oxide standards in laboratory testing but not in real-world conditions. 

 The carmaker said yesterday that they had reported the issue to Germany’s road transport authority KBA, which was concerned about the possible illegal manipulation of emission levels.

Audi said it would update the software of the 4997 A8 model vehicles with 4.2 litre V8 diesel engines, which were made between September 2013 and August 2017.

The software updates will likely be available in the first quarter of 2018 after winter testing.

“During the testing, it will be ensured that the new software has no disadvantages for customers in terms of fuel consumption or performance.”



Tagged with: , ,

VW’s emissions scandal bill hits $30bn

Amid arrests, falling share prices and continued uncertainty, Volkswagen’s bill from the ongoing emissions scandal has reached USD$30 Billion.

Reuters reports that on Thursday, German prosecutors arrested Wolfgang Hatz, the first top executive within the group to be detained amid a widening probe into cheating at VW’s Audi brand.

Wolfgang Hatz, arrested on Thursday by German prosecutors for his senior level role in VW’s emissions cheating scandal.

VW’s growing financial woes and Hatz’s arrest were also discussed on Friday at a regular meeting of the carmaker’s supervisory board, one person familiar with the matter said.

VW shares fell as much as 3 per cent on Friday, as traders and analysts reacted to the continuing fallout from the scandal.

VW, Europe’s biggest automaker, admitted in September 2015 that it had used illegal software to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests, sparking the biggest business crisis in its 80-year history. Before Friday, it had set aside 22.6 billion euros ($26.7 billion) to cover costs such as fines and vehicle refits.

Last year, VW agreed with U.S. authorities to spend up to $15.3 billion to buy back or fix up to 475,000 2.0-litre polluting diesel cars.

On Friday, VW said it was extending the timeline and setting aside an additional 2.5 billion euros (USD$3.0 billion) as hardware. VW says the complications will amount to 5,200 euros per car.

“We have to do more with the hardware,” a VW spokesman said.

In Europe, where only a software update is required for the 8.5 million affected cars, plus a minor component integration for about 3.7 million 1.6-litre vehicles included in that number, fixes are running smoothly, the spokesman added.

The additional provision will be reflected in third-quarter results due on October 27, VW said.



Tagged with: , , ,

Quattro Turbo smashes auction records

A 1991 Audi Quattro Turbo 20v broke auction records when it sold for £72,050 during the recent Classic Car Auctions in England.

Huge crowds turned out for one of the biggest one-day classic car sales of the year, and trade was brisk with about £2 million changing hands in five hours, with 77 per cent of the 166 cars on offer finding new homes.

The raucous applause for the Audi was repeated when a 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Supersport racked up the highest price of day at £99,000, after a series of audacious bids pushed it almost £40,000 beyond its lower estimate.

Enthusiastic bidding was a theme on the day, with several cars attracting opening bids far above their estimates. A 1989 Daimler Double Six started with an opening bid £3,000 above its lower estimate, eventually selling for £13,750, and a 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S in Silver Rose started with a bid £5,000 above its lower estimate and sold for £34,100 after brisk bidding.

An unfinished 1970 Fixed Head Series II Jaguar E-Type 4.2 attracted serious attention in the room with fast-paced bidding pushing the final price to £40,700, over £16,000 more than the lower estimate, while a 1972 Triumph TR6 with overdrive was pushed £13,000 above its lower estimate after some tense brinkmanship among room and phone bidders to sell for £30,800.

The Triumph wasn’t the only traditional British sports car to do well at the auction, with a 1966 Austin Healey 3000 MkIII drawing applause on reaching its final sale price of £50,600, and an ex-award winning 1964 Triumph Spitfire 4 Mk1 that had recently fallen on hard times sold for £6,160 despite being offered at no reserve.

Seventies BMWs seem to the flavour of the month among classic car collectors and the September Sale was no exception, with a 1975 BMW 3.0 CSA being fought over in a two-way bidding war in the room, joined later by online bidders to push the final selling price almost £8,000 beyond its lower estimate to £29,480.

Quirky lots regularly make an appearance at Classic Car Auctions and on this occasion it was a 1979 Ford Fiesta 1300S that drew smiles of affection with only 5,693 miles on the clock but looking very sorry for itself after more than a decade in storage. But with bags of potential, the little ‘no reserve’ Fiesta drew enthusiastic bidding and eventually sold for almost a pound for every mile it had covered at £5,720.

Tagged with: , , , ,

Audi to cut $15b to fund EVs

Audi has pledged to cut costs by over $15 billion by 2022 to help fund its shift to electric cars, Reuters reports.

The highly profitable division of Volkswagen plans to bring five new pure-electric vehicles to market, starting with an e-tron SUV, which will be produced from next year.

Last year, an all-electric Audi R8 e-tron had a brief production run of 100 vehicles, and retailed for over $1.5 million before it was pulled in October.

Reuters says that the bulk of the $15 billion cuts will come from Audi’s research and development budget.

A spokesperson for Audi declined to comment.

More plans for Audi’s development were revealed to the news outlet. The car maker plans to develop a new production platform in conjunction with Porsche, meaning both Volkswagen brands can save money by sharing components and modules.

Audi is one of European brands embroiled in ongoing allegations of widespread cheating of emissions tests, and several top executives have been investigated recently. Last month, the German transport ministry ordered a recall of around 24,000 A7 and A8 SUVs for exceeding current emissions standards.

Tagged with: , , ,

Redesigned A8 to tackle saloon market

The new Audi A8 saloon car premiered at the first Audi Summit held in Barcelona.

The 5.2 metre-long car, which compete against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class amd BMW 7 Series near the top of the luxury market, is a complete redesign from earlier models, with a new driving platform and interior.

Five engine options make up the A8 range, which opens with a V6 turbo petrol engine, producing 250kW of power, and a V6 diesel variant, generating 210 kW.

Two 4.0-litre eight-cylinder models are set to follow, producing 230kW and 338kW, and at the top of the range is an exclusive 6.0-litre W12 engine.

These powertrains all operate in conjunction with a belt alternate starter attached to a 48-volt electrical system, making the A8 a ‘mild hybrid electric vehicle.’ The technology enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to smoothly restart. 

A plug-in hybrid model is set to follow at a later date, containing a 3.0-litre engine and a powerful electric motor for a total 330kW of power and 700Nm of torque.

Autonomous driving features have been upgraded, and the A8 is the first production vehicle to have been developed specifically for highly automated driving, Audi claims.

The Audi AI traffic jam pilot can take charge of driving in slow-moving traffic of up to 60 kph, managing starting, accelerating, steering and braking, and will inform the driver when to take back control of the vehicle.

The Audi AI remote parking and remote garage pilots will steer the A8 in and out of parking spaces and garages independently, with the driver observing via a live display on their smartphone or tablet. 

These autonomous features will be rolled out step-by-step onto Audi vehicles once the technology has been fully approved,  and will need to be cleared for each individual market, Audi says.

Audi’s latest A8 offering will appear on sale in Germany in late spring 2017, with further release dates to be announced. 

Tagged with: , , , ,

Audi accused of more emissions cheating

The German government has accusing Audi of cheating emissions tests with its top-end models. It’s the first time Audi has been accused of emissions cheating in its home country.

The German transport ministry has asked Audi to recall around 24,000 A7 and A8 models built between 2009 and 2013, around half of which were sold in Germany, Reuters reports.

A ministry spokesman told Reuters that VW CEO Matthias Mueller was summoned to the transport ministry, but didn’t elaborate.

The ministry said that recalled Audi models which were supposedly Euro-5 emission standards but in fact emitted twice the legal limit of nitrogen oxide when the steering wheel is turned more than 15 degrees.

The ministry has also issued a deadline of June 12 for Audi to come up with a plan to refit the affected cars. Audi issued a recall for the affected cars on Thursday, and said software updates will start in July.

An Audi source told Reuters the discrepancy in emissions is due to a faulty interaction between transmission and engine control units, and a proposal for a fix has already been submitted to the KBA.

Tagged with: , , ,

5-star ANCAP rating for Euro cars

Skoda Kodiaq frontal offset test

A range of European vehicles have been awarded 5-star ANCAP safety ratings – the Skoda Kodiaq, Audi Q5, MINI Countryman and the Audi Q2.

All four cars come with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard, and drivers and passenger safety scored highly in the tests, although there was some variance in results when it came to child protection.

“Depending on what the main use of your car is, sometimes it’s worth drilling down into the detail behind the rating to ensure it ticks the boxes you want it to, and for the best price, ” said AA general manager Stella Stocks.

“The Kodiaq has been assessed against the latest criteria offering a range of important safety technologies as standard including autonomous emergency braking, multi-collision braking and speed limiter,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin.

The top rating, applicable to all 4×4 variants, comes as the SUV is due to reach the New Zealand market.

The Audi Q5 5-star rating applies to all Q5 and SQ5 model variants.

“It has an advanced autonomous emergency braking system which operates at city and highway speeds, with the added ability to detect and assist in avoiding pedestrians up to a speed of 85km/h,” Goodwin said.

The Audi Q2, launched in February, was also tested, and received a 5-star rating, which applies to all variants.

“It’s worth noting that Audi has released a higher standard safety specification version of the Q2 in New Zealand than in Australia, which may make it slightly more expensive, but better value for buyers in the long run,” said Stocks.

The New Zealand release of the Q2 contains features that are optional in Australia but standard herem including blind spot monitoring, hill launch assist, speed assistance – speed sign recognition and warning, following distance warning, reverse collision avoidance, and trailer stability control.

Finally, the new MINI Countryman, which launched in New Zealand in March, has beaten the previous model’s 4-star rating with a top grade.

“Not only has Mini improved on the structural performance of the Countryman – they’re offering the highest level of safety assist features seen from the brand with autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian detection, and a speed sign recognition and warning system,” said Goodwin.

“Consumers should be buoyed by these ratings which show brands are keeping pace with increasing safety standards.”

Tagged with: , , , ,