Audi's Space Frame technology has helped the manufacturer clinch the title of European Inventor of the Year for 2008.
The honour is awarded by the European Patent Office "on companies whose ideas have made significant contributions to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness." This is the third time the award has been presented.
In the "Industry" category, the Audi Space Frame (ASF) was named the winning patent.
Heinrich Timm, head of the Aluminum and Lightweight Design Centre at Audi, and Norbert Enning, co-inventor of the ASF concept, accepted the Inventor of the Year award.
"With Audi Space Frame technology, Audi opened up a new dimension in lightweight automotive design," says Timm.
The ASF is a high-strength aluminum frame structure into which the panels are integrated. It results in a car body that is stronger, and also significantly lighter, than a steel body.
"This is a central aspect for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions," says Enning.
Audi's Space Frame was first presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1993 as the body of an A8 executive sedan. This technology is now used in the A8, Audi's TT Coupe and Roadster, the R8 and the Lamborghini Gallardo.