At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Audi presented the latest technologies – solutions for today and visionary ideas for tomorrow. The focus of the Audi appearance at CES was on three future trends of the automotive industry: electrification, digitalization and piloted driving. The Audi e-tron quattro concept combines all of these innovations which build upon technologies that are used in its production cars today. Show visitors experienced the new control and display concept that has been implemented in an interior mock-up of the Audi e-tron quattro concept. The brand with the four rings also showed advanced development of Audi connect as well as new developments in lighting technology.
New approaches: controls and displays
User-friendly operation is an Audi strength, and now the brand is expanding its operating and display concept (HMI, human-machine interface) with new solutions. The concept is being presented in an interior mock-up of the Audi e-tron quattro concept car. Key functions can also be controlled conveniently by voice and displays exploit the advantages of a new type of touch recognition – what is known as Audi MMI touch response. Here, the selected functions are activated by gentle yet defined pressure on the display. This makes it possible to operate the system safely and with few distractions while driving.
The term Audi connect covers all applications and developments that network an Audi with its owner, the Internet, infrastructure and other automobiles. Audi continues to extend its lead in this technology field.
The integrated Wi-Fi hotspot lets passengers freely surf the web, stream and text/e-mail with up to eight mobile devices. Customised services include traffic information online, Google Earth and Google Street View, parking information, fuel prices and flight, train and gate information. The Audi connect line-up is rounded out by City Events, individually configurable news, travel and weather information and other services.
New services in Europe will include emergency calls that alerts the Audi Emergency Call Centre after an accident, online roadside assistance that calls the Audi Service Centre and Audi service request with which customers can schedule a service appointment.
The free Audi MMI connect app brings more services into the car such as Online Media Streaming, which offers access to the services of the subscription music portals Napster and Rhapsody and the Aupeo! radio service. For owners of the new A4 and Q7 models, the Audi MMI connect app also offers remote vehicle services. From a smartphone, they can lock or unlock the doors, operate the car’s optional auxiliary heating or view the latest car status report. They can also have the parking location and parking time displayed. Other functions have been added for the Audi e-tron models – remote control of battery charging and climate control and access to driving data. The app’s remote functions can also be activated by a smartwatch, and effective at the beginning of 2016 by a fourth- generation Apple TV.
In 2016, Audi is expanding its connect line-up to include the first Car-to-X technologies. The services traffic sign information and hazard information make the new Audi models part of a swarm.
The traffic light information service connects the new models in the USA via the mobile phone network to the central traffic computer that controls traffic lights in the city. Based on the information from this system, the Audi virtual cockpit recommends a speed to the driver for reaching the next traffic light while it is green.
One of the key infotainment components in production today is the Audi phone box. It lets users charge their mobile phones inductively based on the Qi standard, and it improves mobile phone reception. The component line-up is rounded out by 3D sound systems from Bose and Bang & Olufsen as well as the Audi smartphone interface and the Audi tablet.
Audi electrification strategy
The Audi e-tron quattro concept, the brand’s conceptual study at CES, is an all electrically powered sport SUV. Three electric motors with a total output of up to 370 kW enable a quattro drive system and electric torque vectoring for maximum dynamic performance and stability. The 95 kWh battery, located between the axles and therefore in an ideal position in terms of the centre of gravity, enables a range of over 310.7 miles. The Audi e-tron quattro concept car is a preview of a future production model that will arrive on the market in 2018.
The Audi e-tron quattro concept has piloted driving technologies on board, which Audi will be launching into production in the near future. They include piloted driving in traffic jams and piloted parking.
The core component of future systems will be the central driver assistance controller, known as the zFAS. Information is gathered by the car’s sensors, 3-D cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors for processing and comparison with the environmental model of the road.
Audi will benefit from the highly up-to-date HERE maps database, which AUDI AG acquired together with the BMW Group and Daimler AG in December 2015. In the future, self-driving vehicles will need to be based on a new data source with centimetre accuracy. The live data approach of HERE makes it possible to evaluate all sorts of changes and movements and recognize potential hazards in an extremely short time. In addition, vehicle sensors will send anonymized feedback to the cloud in real time – not only about the current traffic situation, but also about changes, e.g. related to the road condition, detours or other disturbances.
Lighting innovations at Audi
The company is driving progress in automotive lighting technology. The latest highlights are matrix OLED technology and matrix laser technology which will soon be introduced to production.
OLED lighting units are moving into a new dimension with their precision and homogeneity. As a flat light source, they are excellently suited for use in tail lights. Matrix laser headlights illuminate the road with a new standard of precision. Distributed into many tiny pixels, its light beam can be dispersed with extremely fine control.
The Audi VR experience
Audi is the world’s first carmaker to develop its own software and hardware solution for virtual reality applications – the Audi VR experience. Customers can use virtual reality glasses to experience the car of their choice at a dealership with unprecedented realism – in 3D, with a 360-degree panoramic view, sound effects and all available features.
Audi Fit Driver
The Audi Fit Driver project is focusing on the well-being of the driver. Audi has a vision of drivers who step out of their cars at their destinations more relaxed than when they stepped into them. A wearable – a fitness wristband or watch – monitors important vital parameters such as heart rate and skin temperature. The car’s sensors supplement them with information on driving style, breathing rate and relevant environmental data such as the weather or traffic situation. By analysing the combination of this data, the car can deduce the current state of the driver, e.g. whether the driver is stressed or overly tired. The vehicle systems then adjust their modes of operation to relax, vitalize, or even protect the driver.