Vorsprung Durch Technik: Audi wins Digital Economy Award

If you’re a fan of the four-ringed brand, you’d know what Audi’s true slogan is. It’s not the “Truth In Engineering” one we hear in America. The real Audi slogan is “Vorsprung Durch Technik”, which is German for “Progress Through Technology”. For awhile, Audi was trying hard to be both BMW and Mercedes-Benz, putting hardcore performance or luxury ahead of everything else. However, as of late Audi has been getting back to its technological roots.

The new Audi A4, Q7, TT/TTS and new A5 are all far more technologically advanced than both their predecessors and their competition. It seems as if these new models have taken a massive technological leap over the cars they’ve replaced and it shows that Audi is now emphasizing on its “Vorsprung Durch Technik”.

Audi A4

However, it isn’t just in its cars. Audi is implementing some of the most advanced tech the industry has ever seen in their production sites to improve production efficiency and safety. Audi’s newfound focus on technology in this area has paid off as it’s just been rewarded for it. The IDD( Initiative Deutschland Digital) has just given Audi the Digital Economy Award for its technological innovation in the field of automotive production.

Audi follows the maxim of making production processes efficient, flexible, highly automated and fit for the future. Audi’s production processes are already thoroughly connected today. In order to create even more synergies and to remain competitive, the premium manufacturer is continually pushing forward with digitization and connectivity in its plants. In the future, for example, Audi will apply a cloud?based Internet of Things (IoT) platform developed by the startup company nextLAP in Munich. All IoT objects that are relevant for the production process will be connected with the platform – whether robots, cordless screwdrivers or tablets.

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“In this way, we will reach the next stage of digitization, because all the data from production and logistics will be stored on the platform. This will allow us to implement complex production and logistics processes significantly faster, more flexibly and cost-effectively, and to optimize them holistically with intelligent algorithms,” stated Antoin Abou?Haydar, Head of Vehicle Assembly Audi A4/A5/Q5, who accepted the prize on behalf of AUDI AG.

Audi San Jose Chiapa, Mexico plant

One example is the so?called Smart Shelf, an intelligent pick?by?light shelf. This is where logistics employees make components such as steering wheels, gear?lever knobs and seat belts ready for assembly. The Smart Shelf is equipped with mini PCs and exactly controls the required parts from logistics to assembly. For example, if a component is to be fitted at a different assembly speed in the future, the assembly line has to be recalibrated. Until now, that has caused major technical and organizational efforts. Thanks to the Smart Shelf and the cloud?based platform, assembly workers will be able to carry out this change in the system themselves using a tablet, without great effort. All employees, machines and logistics processes involved in this procedure are immediately informed and production continues without any interruption.

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The Digital Economy Award has been given this year for the first time by Initiative Deutschland Digital, an inter?industry network for the digital transformation of the German economy. The prize is awarded to companies and organizations that increase their efficiency and value creation by applying digital technologies and new business models. The members of the jury from the fields of business, science and politics evaluate the digital projects in the categories Customer Experience, Product and Service Innovation, Company 4.0 and Digitized Business Model.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.