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Audi’s Mueller: Cars need end-to-end architecture (Photo: Claus Dick)

FRANKFURT — Audi’s new flagship A8 model is filled with state-of-the-art connected technology, but the premium brand’s head of electrical and electronics development said Wednesday that a “quantum leap” in several key technologies is still needed to realize the industry’s autonomous-driving goals.

Thomas Mueller said coming generations of Audi vehicles will need a new end-to-end electronic architecture that includes the backend and allows the integration of the cars in a connected traffic infrastructure.

He also said more work needs to be done to network cars with other connected assets, products and services people use. “We are not yet sufficiently integrated in the digital lifestyle of the customers,” Mueller said.

Addressing the annual carIT Congress here, the Audi executive cited three enabling technologies for next-generation autonomous vehicles. One is a “totally new architecture,” which will do away with the differentiation between on-board and off-board applications. This will also make over-the-air updates a reality.

The second is giving cars the ability to learn with the help of artificial intelligence. And the third is the integration of the car in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Mueller acknowledged that

Mueller and other industry speakers stressed that so-called level 2 and level 3 autonomous driving is feasible in the near-to-medium term, but that level 4 and level 5 will likely take longer to achieve. Audi’s new A8 is already level 3 capable, Mueller said.

Karl-Heinz Glander, who heads supplier ZF Friedrichshafen’s automated driving operations, cited five challenges for autonomous car development:

  • System and fucntion architecture
  • Verification and validation strategies
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Sensor technologies
  • Algorithm and function processing units.