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Hackenberg says Audi's infotainment can be upgraded every year to accommodate new devices (Photo: Claus Dick)

HANOVER -- Audi's connected-car strategy is moving to the next level as more powerful processors make it easier for drivers to operate increasingly complex functions, said Ulrich Hackenberg, the brand's head of technical development.

In an address to the annual carIT Congress here, Hackenberg said Audi's strategy is designed to deal with the three megatrends that are defining tomorrow's automotive world: urbanization, digitalization and connectivity.

"In the coming years the name of the game is to shape the future of mobility," Hackenberg told the Congress. Hackenberg's presentation to the congress was titled "Car-to-World - Audi's networking strategy."

Hackenberg cited urbanization as a key driver of the connected-car revolution and said this is where car-to-infrastructure networking becomes especially important. In a city like Shanghai, he noted, the population will grow by 11 million people in the next 15 years. "In such a situation you shouldn't just look at the car, but you should view it in the context of the existing mobility system."

To smoothe traffic in cities, Audi will, in coming years, introduce advanced driver assistance systems that include real-time information on upcoming traffic lights.

The fast-paced consumer electronics industry is presenting challenges to automakers, Hackenberg acknowledged. But he said Audi's modular infotainment system can be upgraded to deal with new consumer devices roughly every year. "Such a modular architecture is somewhat of a paradigm shift for the auto industry," he said.

Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are fighting for market share in the growing premium segment. Each brand is investing heavily in advanced driver assistance systems, connectivity and infotainment, which are generally seen as major differentiators for today's premium-car buyers.

The carIT Congress, which is hosted by the automotiveIT Group, has as its theme "Connected Car: The Future of Mobility."