Audi to invest billions in innovation, sustainability and product development
Audi is about to embark on the biggest investment programme in its history. From 2015 through 2019, the Ingolstadt-based company plans to invest €24 billion in product development, technology and innovation.
Audi plans to meet stringent carbon-dioxide limits worldwide with a new generation of extremely economical combustion engines and alternative efficiency technologies. It also aims to introduce new features in areas of connectivity and driver assistance, while expanding its global production footprint.
The major carmaker also plans to develop new cutting-edge technologies and create additional production capacities worldwide in the next five years.
“We place top priority on sustainable growth. That’s why we are making large investments in the innovative areas of electric mobility, connectivity and lightweight construction,” stated Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management (CEO) of Audi AG.
The total investment volume of €24 billion comprises approximately €17 billion of investment in property, plant and equipment and €7 billion of capitalized development costs. “70 percent of all our investment in the next five years will flow into new models and innovative technologies,” explained Axel Strotbek, board of management member for finance (CFO).
“Despite the growth in total investment, we will keep a watchful eye on the upcoming challenges and exercise the required cost discipline,” he stated.
In order to fulfill the ambitious CO2 limits, the company is working not only on the next generation of fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engines, but also on plug-in hybrids such as the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, which became available in certain markets at the end of 2014.
“We are constantly further developing alternative drive systems and focusing above all on connecting the car with its digital environment,” explained Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi board of management for technical development.
The car will communicate with the driver, the Internet, the infrastructure and other vehicles, while moving in an environmentally friendly manner. The new Audi TT is a pacemaker in terms of seamless connectivity. Its integrated Audi virtual cockpit, which merges a combination of instruments and an MMI screen into a central digital unit, sets new standards.
A few weeks ago, Audi presented the A7 Sportback h-tron quattro concept car at the Los Angeles Motor Show, demonstrating that the premium manufacturer has also mastered fuel-cell technology. “We can move into the series-production stage as soon as justified by the market and infrastructure,” stated Hackenberg.
By the end of the year 2020, Audi intends to expand its model portfolio from 50 to 60 models. A main focus will be on new models in the C and D segments. Audi also intends to expand the successful Q family.
Another important element of the investment program is the expansion of manufacturing structures in Germany and abroad: “The sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm are the basis for our international success. We therefore plan to make more than half of the total investment in Germany,” emphasized Strotbek.
The production plant in Ingolstadt is already being prepared for new models. Extensive rebuilding work will start also in Neckarsulm in 2015, in order to prepare the plant for the next generation of the Audi A8 luxury sedan.
Worldwide, the Audi Group’s workforce has now grown to the record size of 80,000 employees. In Mexico and Brazil, the company is investing in new plants so that it can fully utilize the growth potential of the American continent.
By 2020, the company aims to be the premium brand number one on a sustainable basis.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.