Audi is stepping up its research on automated driving by opening a new research-and-development office in Silicon Valley focused on advanced driver assistance systems.
The company expects to hire 60 engineers to concentrate on artificial intelligence, software development and hunt for potential partners among Silicon Valley start-up companies. The new office in San Jose will have the flexibility to develop software quickly, Audi executives said.
“Given the rapid advancement of driver assistance technologies in North America, it’s important to be part of the latest breakthroughs, work with leading edge of technology startups and attract the top talent,” said Frank Grosshauser, senior director, ADAS, Audi of America.
“We’re looking to bring on as many as 60 engineers to develop new functionalities, catered specifically to North American Audi customer needs,” Grosshauser said.
Grosshauser noted the U.S. is expected to continue its lead in terms of ADAS capabilities based on artificial intelligence and its cloud-supported development processes in the push to more advanced Level 2-plus automated systems for the coming decade worldwide.
While Audi maintains R&D offices in various locations throughout the U.S., A2D2, as it has been dubbed, is the first office dedicated to developing ADAS hardware and software specifically for North American roads and driving behaviors.
The new office has outfitted a number of Audi Q7 development vehicles with roof-mounted sensor kits to collect data and help software engineers develop tools that power tomorrow’s vehicles and enhance the driving experience in an Audi.
The A2D2 development vehicles are wrapped in a QR code that links to a webpage with the latest Audi automated driving breakthroughs and developments. Designers working in the Audi Design Loft in Malibu, California, created the unique graphics and logo specifically for A2D2.
The fleet of testing vehicles will be used for data acquisition to develop various cloud-based automated driver-assistance functions planned for introduction by 2023.
Audi is focused on the further development of automated driving together with colleagues in the CarSoftware organization, a newly founded Volkswagen Group unit. All Volkswagen Group brands have concentrated their automated driving development activities within this unit, Audi officials said.