Audi’s signature Quattro full-time all-wheel-drive system debuted 40 years ago. During the intervening decades, cars have added a multitude of subsystems for powertrain and chassis control, producing a proliferation of electronic control systems.
Now, the company wants to simplify these many discrete computer systems into a single, all-encompassing control unit that will be ten times faster than today’s ECUs. Speed of operation isn’t the only potential benefit, according to Audi.
By controlling as many as 90 systems such as the Electronic Chassis Platform (ECP), electromechanical Active Roll Stabilization (eAWS), predictive active suspension, and Dynamic All-wheel Steering (DAS) into a single controller, these systems can better coordinate their actions to work more effectively. Today’s computers control only about 20 different components.
Efficiency will benefit too because electrified vehicles’ integrated Brake Control System (iBRS) can better blend regeneration with friction braking to recapture the maximum amount of energy when decelerating. The ability to simultaneously adjust the shock absorbers’ damper compression rate within milliseconds can improve brake performance and regeneration efficiency, as it manages the forward weight transfer while slowing.
Crucially, this future integrated system will work with all powertrain types; combustion engines, hybrids, or electric drive vehicles. It will also work with various drive layouts, so front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive vehicles will employ the same system.
Many of the components that will come under unified control are already in service in Audi models today. We have compiled some of these technologies in the slideshow above.