Der Audi A8 und das Taxi

Super navigation vs. super brain

A duel between taxi driver and HERE navigation in the Audi A8

Franz is a committed taxi driver. He knows the streets of Munich like the back of his hand. The same goes for the new HERE navigation in the Audi A8. But who gets there faster? Audi Blog author Alex Stiehle watched the duel.

Taxifahrer Franz Daumer lehnt an seinem Wagen.
Taxi driver Franz Daumer racing against the HERE navigation system in the Audi A8. Who will win?

It’s 3 pm at an Aral gas station on Leopoldstraße in Munich. It’s a cloudy Tuesday afternoon, and Franz Daumer is sipping a cup of coffee. He has a long night behind him and is facing another tonight, so this probably won’t be his last coffee. Franz is a taxi driver and works permanent nightshift. The Munich man has been sitting at the wheel of his car, pulling all-nighters for the past 14 years.

But he’s not looking for sympathy. He’s one of the few people who have truly found their calling. “If this job didn’t exist, I would have had to invent it,” says Franz, laughing. “I love my job. I can choose my own hours and I really like being on the road at night because the party people are so colorful and far more relaxed.”

The taxi driver that challenges the navigation

Franz has covered more than 140,000 kilometers with his taxi in the space of just one-and-a-half years. Anyone who spends that much time in a vehicle develops a special relationship with it. Which is why his taxi also has a name: “Schickeria-Schleuder”.

And Franz has already been through a lot with her: “One night, I was waiting in front of the Hofbräuhaus when sudden- ly this drunk guy came staggering up to my taxi. He climbs in, and it wasn’t until I took a second look that I realized it was Bruce Willis. I drove him to his hotel, which was only 500 meters down the street. But he was probably too disoriented, or too drunk.”

In his job, Franz can’t allow himself to be disoriented. To earn his taxi license, he learnt the vast majority of Munich’s streets by heart. He knows every square, every park and every promenade. He knows every square, every park and every promenade. He’s a master at dodging traffic jams. His gut feel and his experience are his best navigation system. When asked how he fancies his chances in a race against the world’s most state-of-the-art navigation system, he nods confident- ly and says: “I know what I know. Challenge accepted.”

Taxifahrer auf Münchens Straßen

Franz Daumer knows the majority of the streets in Munich by heart. There are only some places to which he hasn't been with his taxi. That's why he's not hesitating and heads confidently into the competition between himself and the HERE navigation.

The new HERE navigation in the Audi A8

Around 24 hours later at Audi’s Technical Development complex in Ingolstadt: Guido Müller is filled with anticipation. Today, he’s going to drive against taxi legend Franz Daumer in a race from the Schlossmuseum in Ismaning to the Residenztheater in downtown Munich. Guido is Project Leader for the new HERE navigation system in the Audi A8.

There’s only one question on his mind today: Who is faster? Taxi driver Franz with his experience or the navigation system Guido and his colleagues have been working on for the past four years.

Even on our way to the vehicle, we can already see what the new system can do. Guido enters the address into the myAudi app on his smartphone. The app begins navigating and first guides us to the vehicle. As soon as Guido steps inside, the Audi A8 automatically begins route guidance to the previously entered destination.

“We want this end-to-end navigation to offer the customer a holistic solution that guides him from his door to his vehicle and then to his final destination,” explains Guido then starts the engine. As we travel on the A9 heading for Munich, Guido explains the navigation system’s other high- lights. He’s completely relaxed as he drives along the middle lane, guiding the car with gentle steering movements. Suddenly a tighter corner emerges in front of us and the Audi A8 automatically lowers the speed. “This function is called predictive ACC (Editor: Adaptive Cruise Control). The navigation delivers data to the system based on the route currently being driven. It knows in advance what bends lie ahead and at which speed I can take them,” says Guido. “This function is also an important element of autonomous driving.”

Here-Navigation im Audi A8
Thanks to the HERE navigation in the Audi A8, the maps are even more precise and realistic. The destination is easier to find than ever before.

The further development of autonomous driving is one of the reasons for Audi acquiring HERE in 2015 from Nokia, together with other German auto- makers. “What we see in HERE is far more than purely a guidance experience to get from A to B,” he says. “HERE’s maps are extremely accurate down to the last ten centimeters. We’ll need this kind of precision later when Audi wants to put autonomous driving into series production.”

The accurate map material is one of HERE’s great strengths. Furthermore, the new system offers precise traffic information from geodata service, TomTom, and comprehensive search functionality from Google. “Each service has its own strengths. We’re bringing them together in a single system to offer the customer the best outcome,” says Guido as he exits the A9.

Franz Daumer sitzt im Audi A8

Before the race, the opponents get to know each other: Guido Müller introduces the HERE navigation to Franz.

The taxi and the HERE navigation in the A8 meet for the first time

Shortly before our arrival at the Schlossmuseum in Ismaning, a notice appears on the navigation screen ask ing if we need a parking space. “This notice appears as soon as you approach your destination. If the drivers confirms, the software searches for a parking space and directs the driver there,” explains Guido. But we’re not looking for a parking space, just Guido’s opponent for today – Franz, the taxi driver.

He’s already waiting at the side of the road, leaning casually on his Schickeria-Schleuder. Guido steps out and the two men greet each other warmly. Obviously, Franz is keen to meet his opponent first. He settles him- self into the passenger seat of the new Audi A8 and takes an inquisitive look around the interior, while Guido gives him a short crash course in HERE navigation.

The two men appear to get along well – but there’s still a race to run. Franz gets back into his taxi, and they’re off. Both men accelerate sharply and head into the beginnings of the evening rush hour.

Audi A8 in München

Taxi driver Franz Daumer knows Munich like the back of his head. But he has great competition.

The duel between man and machine begins

Guido’s chattiness evident on
the way here evaporates. Deep in con- centration, he steers the
Audi A8 through the heavy traffic. The HERE navigation guides
him deftly through the busy roads.

Franz is driving right in front of us. He had a better start, and we
drive behind him for a while along Oberföhringerstraße. As we leave Oberföhring, Franz suddenly takes a right turn. The HERE navigation tells us to drive on. Is Franz perhaps aware of
a traffic jam unknown to the navigation system? Guido doesn’t let it bother him and sticks to his course.

Audi A8 im Verkehr in München
The race has begun – now it's all about the win for taxi driver Franz Daumer and the HERE navigation. May the fastest win!

But the succession of red lights keeps slowing us down. Seconds become eternities. Maybe Franz is intentionally avoiding this
flood of stoplights and is slinking along back roads. Is the Schickeria-Schleuder going to beat us?

Guido picks up the tempo after every red light. But the traffic is getting heavier and sometimes we come to a complete standstill. Guido’s gas foot is getting nervous. The finish line is still around 1.5 kilometers away. As we head along Maximilianstraße towards our destination, Guido uses a gap in the traffic to make up some time. We arrive at the finish line after around 15 kilometers.

Franz and Guido review the race results. Guido asks why he turned off. “The traffic on the Oberföhringer is usually heavy at that time and I wanted to avoid the congestion. But unfortunately, I drove into construction site and lost time,” responds Franz. In Munich, roadworks can pop up from nowhere overnight.

Nevertheless, it was a very close race, just that the HERE navigation was able to score a narrow victory this time. Franz takes it like a sportsman and gives Guido a high five before climbing back into his Schickeria- Schleuder. It’s the start of his shift.

Gewinner und Verlierer des Rennens schlagen lachend ein

The winner of the race: the Audi HERE navigation has won – but it was a close race. The route planning based on the HERE data base and onboard information has clinched the victory for the Audi A8.

A tight race between the taxi driver and the HERE navigation in the Audi A8

The HERE navigation won the tight race between taxi driver Franz Daumer and Guido Müller who steered the Audi A8. The super brain of the Audi A8 is founded on the basis of the hybrid navigation that combines onboard information and data from the HERE servers for the route calculation. Thus the driver is able to react to road closures and traffic jams early on and take an alternative route. A feature that has helped Guido Müller during his duel against taxi driver Franz:

The HERE navigation in the Audi A8 directs precisely and safely to the fixed destination – faster than some taxis.
The project leader of the HERE navigation Guido Müller has a reason to smile: he knows that he can rely on the navigation.
A tight race in Munich: the Audi A8 versus the
The Audi A8 conquers the streets of Munich and finds even small streets with the HERE navigation system.

The HERE navigation in the Audi A8 directs precisely and safely to the fixed destination – faster than some taxis.


The project leader of the HERE navigation Guido Müller has a reason to smile: he knows that he can rely on the navigation.


A tight race in Munich: the Audi A8 versus the "Schickeria-Schleuder".


The Audi A8 conquers the streets of Munich and finds even small streets with the HERE navigation system.

Audi A8
Audi MediaCenter

Audi A8

The new Audi A8 presents the future of the luxury class. In its fourth generation, the brand’s flagship model again provides the benchmark for Vorsprung durch Technik – with a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The Audi A8 is also the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for conditional automated driving. Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.0 - 5.6 (29.4 - 42.0 US mpg)*; Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 182 - 145 (292.9 - 233.4 g/mi)* * Figures on the fuel consumption and the CO2-emissions vary in case of given ranges d...

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Consumption and emission figures of vehicles on this page:

A8: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 8.0 – 5.6; Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 182 – 145. Figures on the fuel consumption and the CO2-emissions vary in case of given ranges depending on the used combination of wheels/tires. //