Introducing project "Artemis".
It's been only two months since new Audi CEO Markus Duesmann took office and he's wasted no time with future preparations. The luxury German automaker has just revealed the existence of the "Artemis" high-tech project, a new initiative that gets underway on June 1 which will result in Audi dramatically speeding up development on an electric "highly automated" vehicle that could hit the road as soon as 2024.
Project Artemis will be headed by Alex Hitzinger, whose previous role was the company's chief motorsport engineer and is also currently in charge of autonomous driving for the entire VW Group. Prior to Audi, he also Toyota Motorsport, Ford/Cosworth, and even three years at Apple where he laid the groundwork for its autonomous vehicle program. His new task: to "develop a pioneering model for Audi quickly and unbureacratically."
Audi realizes it's vital to launch new electric vehicles in as quickly and cheaply as possible without any compromises. This four-year period is seriously fast in an industry that typically requires additional time to build and launch new vehicles from scratch.
"With 75 planned electric models by 2029, the current electric initiative at the Volkswagen Group naturally ties up all our capacities," said Duesmann said about why the project is being launched. "The obvious question was how we could implement additional high-tech benchmarks without jeopardizing the manageability of existing projects, and at the same time utilize new opportunities in the markets."
This will be no easy task, hence why the entire Group's resources and technologies will be made available to Hitzinger and his team. Duesmann wants Artemis to serve as a blueprint for other Group brands in their own future new product development. The first step Hitzinger and co. must accomplish is to create that new EV with just four years' time.
Along the way and beyond, the Artemis team needs to reexamine the entire automotive ecosystem and design "a new business model for the entire usage phase."
Translation: Audi is also rethinking traditional vehicle ownership experiences, such as buying or leasing, and the feasibility of new alternatives.