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Audi Sharing Info with Competitors to Increase Sustainability

With so many people anticipated to be living in urban areas in the relatively near future, it is important that problems be dealt with proactively; Volkswagen Group announced that today Audi is kicking off an initiative to do just that.

It is estimated that by 2050, more than 70% of the population on Earth will live in cities. With this number will come challenges for industrial production, distribution and services. Instead of waiting to see just what will happen and looking for solutions when the problems surface, Volkswagen Group has announced an initiative of Audi’s production division (along with the Network of Automotive Excellence, an intercompany network of experts of the automotive industry), the FutureCityFactory.

At the Audi Conference Center in Ingolstadt, 140 representatives from the areas of business and science held discussions with urban and transport planners at the kickoff of FutureCityFactory. The goal, VW Group indicated, is to establish cross-country industry cooperation on technological pilot projects. Under the motto of “mastering urban challenges together,” the two partners have brought cities, scientists and business people around one table for the first time.

In 1950, three million cities existed worldwide; by 2030, there are anticipated to be more than 480 million. What does this mean for industrial production? How will the infrastructure of distribution and services change? How can companies proactively respond today in anticipation of the changes to come? “For Audi’s production, it is important to shape the industrial manufacturing of tomorrow effectively and sustainably,” explained Arne Lakeit, Head of Production and Plant Planning at AUDI AG. “With FutureCityFactory therefore, we want to initiate cooperation on research and support. We aim to push forward with interdisciplinary pilot projects together with our partners.”

Today in Ingolstadt, 140 participants from business and science backgrounds discussed opportunities for industrial manufacturing in an urban context with urban and transport planners at the kickoff conference of FutureCityFactory. These discussions were based on four impulse lectures on the specific challenges faced by industry in the future. Subsequently, the participants exchanged opinions and experience on the subjects of employees, mobility, the Internet, planning for the future and energy. The most important areas for action will then be transferred into concrete ideas. For example, Audi’s production planners will focus on the self-organization of production equipment by means of swarm intelligence, and on individualized assembly processes using generative manufacturing methods. This will allow components to be manufactured directly from the relevant design data, thus saving time and reducing waste material.

After the kickoff conference, viable solutions will be given concrete form and technological pilot projects will be initiated via cross-industry working meetings of FutureCityFactory. Knowledge gained by the Audi Urban Future Initiative will also be utilized. Since 2010, the Audi Urban Future Initiative has been investigating the mobility of tomorrow, in order to develop new perspectives on the sustainable city of the future.