Volkswagen Group intends to bypass Tesla in technology in 3.5 yearsAugust 8, 2020
Audi CEO Markus Doosmann has revealed new details about Project Artemis. It will employ about 200 engineers, they will have at their disposal all the resources of the parent company Volkswagen Group, while they will receive full internal autonomy. The task of the project is extremely ambitious – to create by 2024 a completely new digital platform, which will surpass the cars of all competitors in all key parameters, and first of all Tesla.
Named Project Artemis, after the ancient Greek goddess of the hunt, the plan for the technological breakthrough is to chase and eventually catch up with Tesla, considered by many experts, including Dusmann himself, to be the leader in the automotive software industry.
“When it comes to digitalization, we are still lagging behind,” Dusmann admitted in an interview with Reuters.
Technological advances have pushed car manufacturers from improving engines and interior design to developing software that powers data analysis systems, lidars and camera sensors for autonomous vehicle control, Doosmann explained.
The Audi CEO believes that the premium quality of cars no longer depends on the size, engine power and the amount of rare materials used in the development process. Customers are now looking at hardware, smart features and built-in sensor capabilities.
“The technical development of vehicles no longer depends on the size of the vehicle, but on the electrical and electronic architecture of the vehicle,” explains Dusmann.
Dussmann assembles a team of 200 engineers to create a dedicated unit under the parent company, the Volkswagen Group. The task of this team will be to develop an “advanced computerized vehicle control system” that will be able to outperform all competitors’ solutions. The company plans to unveil the first full-range Audi Artemis by 2024.
“The development of a new car with so many new features and in a very tight time frame – until 2024 – is unprecedented. Therefore, we decided to set up a separate division for the task, ”said Dusmann, who is also the head of research at the Volkswagen Group.
The idea is that the agile development team will be less burdened with internal bureaucracy within the Volkswagen Group, which owns brands such as Bugatti, Bentley, Porsche, Skoda and Lamborghini, as well as Audi and VW.
Project Artemis will be led by Alexander Hitzinger, who is responsible for unmanned technologies of the Volkswagen Group.
He created the Porsche racing team that won the Le Mans endurance race in 2015, 2016, 2017. Hitzinger also worked at Apple, where he led the autonomous car project.
Doosmann stressed several times that the speed of developing a new platform is a critical parameter. If the team will find solutions that will require the involvement of some external partners and this will significantly accelerate the overall pace of work, then the team will have the authority to enter into such collaborations. Including with companies from China. “China is very important and will play a role in the project,” Dusmann said, but declined to elaborate.
“The result of the development will be a platform that will be scalable for all of us,” said Doosmann, referring to the entire line of VG brands. Specifying that “Audi will be the first model on it.”
But Tesla is also moving forward. The company uses the premises of the German Gigafactory to create a production of its own batteries using a completely new, breakthrough technology.
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