The European Patent Office has named AUDI AG the European Inventor of the Year. The honor is bestowed on companies whose ideas have made significant contributions to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. Audi was recognized for the invention of Audi Space Frame technology (ASF).
"The award is testament to our lead in lightweight aluminum design technology, an area that's so important for the automobile industry," said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. Competing in the "Industry" category, the ASF technology was named the winner over competitors' patents.
Heinrich Timm, Head of the Aluminum and Lightweight Design Center at Audi, and Norbert Enning, co-inventor of the ASF concept, accepted the Inventor of the Year award in Ljubljana. "With Space Frame technology, Audi opened a new dimension in lightweight automotive design," says Timm. The Audi Space Frame results in a car body that's not only stronger and safer than a steel body, but also significantly lighter. "This is a central aspect for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions," says Enning.
The Audi Space Frame was first presented to the world at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 1993 as the body of an Audi A8. The ASF is a high-strength aluminum frame structure into which the panels are integrated so they also perform a load-bearing function. The Audi Space Frame comprises a complex structure of extruded profiles and cast nodes. Together, these result in a car with high stiffness and a vehicle offering above-average crash protection. The ASF design enables significant weight savings, improved handling and lower fuel consumption. The Audi A8, TT, R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo are all equipped with Audi Space Frame technology.