Volkswagen confirmed that its Audi cars with automatic transmission have technology that can distort emissions when they are tested, following the allegations that the company used a new type of emissions cheating software in some of its luxury flagships.
This summer, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) had detected cheating software in an older Audi model, reported Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. This is not related to the device that provoked diesel emissions test-cheating scandal at Volkswagen last year.
The software that CARB discovered reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by detecting testing conditions, reported Bild. The car used a shifting sequence meant to provide better performance while in normal use.
In response to another article reporting the problem, published in Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Volkswagen sent an email, stating, “Adaptive shift programs can lead to incorrect and non-reproducible results” during testing.
The cars’ shifting would be more rapid and in a way that would reduce emissions of CO2, as well as nitric oxides if the software detected testing conditions, said Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Both the CO2 and nitric oxides are responsible for lung ailments, as well as global warming.
Volkswagen said, “Audi has explained the technical backgrounds of adaptive shift programs to the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority KBA and has made available technical information.” The company also assured there will be more talk with the KBA, which the German government has commissioned to look into the reported anomaly at Audi.
Experts say this so-called adaptive transmission control is designed to provide better performance by enhancing fuel economy and lowering shifting frequency.
“In normal use, these adaptive systems support the driver by adjusting the gear-shifting points to best adapt to each driving situation,” said VW.
According to Bild, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had opened an inquisition into Audi over the latest software allegation and will hear senior VW engineers next week.