Chief seer - Audi 2021 - Magazine | Monocle

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Volker Kaese is head of innovation management at Audi. When you walk into his office, the first thing you notice are Post-it notes covering an entire wall and the back of his door. “That takes us all the way to 2040,” he says with a smile. Charged with predicting the future of mobility and how this will impact on the way we drive ourselves, or be driven as the case may be, Kaese is best placed to explain the concept of innovation.

Volker Kaese in his office
The Audi AI:ME has front seats with comfortable cushioning and backrests shaped like curved shells 
Real plants and elegant wooden struts in the concept car’s roof create a pergola effect above the interior

“There are two ways to define innovation,” he says. “First, it is an evolution from the past – you have created something and you can do it better. Second, it is something you have never seen before and you need to have it because it fully blows your mind. These are the radical innovations that I’m responsible for at Audi.”

“Innovation is something you have never seen before and you need to have it”

So what are the Audi innovations of tomorrow? The company sees the future of personal premium mobility represented across three key areas. “To begin, you have something we call first-class travel, where you define the car from the inside as a living space and build the driving features around that,” he explains. “Then you have connectivity where you can reach out from yourself to the car and from the car to other cars. Finally, you have sustainability that is built into everything in a premium way.”

The vehicle illustrated above is a prototype that is not available as a production model.  

Further information on official fuel consumption figures and the official specific CO₂ emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the guide “Information on the fuel consumption, CO₂ emissions and electricity consumption of new cars”, which is available free of charge at all sales dealerships and from DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Hellmuth-Hirth-Strasse 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen, Germany (

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