To make a car, Audi had to blow one up – The Verge

Posted: Saturday, May 03, 2014

About an hour from Munich, Audi basically runs a city. Its headquarters are situated in Ingolstadt, a city of around 125,000 people. Audi employs over 35,000 here, an enormous complex housing corporate offices, research and development centers, production lines, and a large museum and visitors’ center. Today I’m standing in one of the many innocuous buildings, in front of the company’s new TT coupe — or at least a grotesquely splayed version of it. Before releasing any car, Audi’s engineers set up giant test rigs containing every single electronic component. The rig is enormous — three walls of speakers, displays, headlamps, controls, electric window motors, controls, and switches. The mess of components that surrounds me constitues literally *everything* electronic in the car.

These parts are all in working condition, meaning if, for example, you activate the door window control, you’ll send a dismembered motor into action. It’s a great way to impress a visiting journalist, but these rigs serve a far more important purpose. Engineers test every combination of actions to weed out gremlins in the system in a safe environment. They can also stress test components, transporting the rigs into room-sized equivalents of an oven or a freezer to ensure nothing will go wrong in extreme climates.


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