Some of this shouldn't come as a surprise. We already know about the death of the R8 E-Tron, a low-volume EV that wasn't going to make the brand much money and didn't pan out as a halo electric car quite like the company probably hoped. Then there's the new E-Tron crossover, which has been in the works for a while and will head a line of consumer-grade EVs from the brand – the kind that will make money as long as they sell in mass-market numbers, something Tesla has shown is possible. That project is surely safe, although perhaps it will now take longer for the EVs to gain autonomous abilities.
This change in funding direction could mean that the planned autonomous track, dubbed IN-Campus as it was to be located in Audi's home of Ingolstadt, was going to be more for show than actual research, or that Audi thinks it can get the same outcomes in its existing facilities or new ones located elsewhere. (The company's work council is upset by the plan being put on hold, as it could mean more jobs leaving Germany.)
There's also the very strong possibility that this provides a welcome opportunity for the company to cut some fat. Reuters notes that Audi spends more on R&D than rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, despite having the whole VW Group to leverage. While the diesel scandal was certainly not welcome, it may be forcing Audi and the other Group brands to take a closer look at balance sheets than they otherwise would have. The result of all of this could be a leaner company, assuming too much attention doesn't stray to low-volume EVs and away from what are still the core products.