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Audi Electronics Research Laboratory - Research in Silicon Valley (Part 5)

The quest for the intelligent car of the future

The Volkswagen Group's Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) is helping to accelerate the development of the "intelligent" car of the future. Potential technologies are analysed, rapidly brought to production maturity and the customer thus enabled to benefit from them even more swiftly.

The ERL in Palo Alto, California (USA), is the main electronics research centre of the Volkswagen Group. Located at the heart of Silicon Valley, it enables the group to collaborate directly with many of the world's leading high-tech companies, budding hardware and software companies, and university research institutes. The close partnership between the ERL and these partners promotes the design and development of innovative equipment and applications, which are then installed in test vehicles of the group brands for further analysis and trials.

The ERL is active in many different areas of technology. The assembly of prototypes featuring various electronic and mechanical components takes place directly in the research laboratory, which operates with complete autonomy. The team of around 40 engineers and designers acts as a kind of think tank or trend scout for the group. Each electronic component in a vehicle – displays, instruments, switches, speech recognition, wireless communication and driver assistance systems – is considered for future extensions to specifications: new technologies that make Audi and other group models safer, more comfortable and altogether more appealing.

The research work produces new developments that help to differentiate the products from the competition; these are innovations that make the vehicles more efficient. The work of the ERL simultaneously boosts the technical expertise of the company. It is also emerging as a knowledge centre for electronics in North America, and this specialist knowledge is benefiting all markets and regions.
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