March 8, 2012
Source: Audi Media
Audi is appearing at CeBIT in Hanover for the first time ever. Under the “Audi connect” banner, the brand will present current and future solutions for mobile IT applications at the world’s biggest trade fair for information technology from March 6 to 10. One highlight will be the next-generation Audi A3: the first Audi model to use the modular infotainment platform.
Audi has attained a leading position in automotive infotainment, well aware that this engineering field is already key and will grow rapidly in importance. “Digitalization is not only accelerating change in society but also transforming mobility,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. Michael Dick, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development, adds: “Under the “Audi connect’ banner, we are making individual mobility efficient, safe and convenient.”
Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization, remarks: “IT applications and automobiles are converging increasingly quickly; cars are becoming active players in networks.” Strotbek will give the opening address at “Automotive Day” on March 8, which is associated with the trade fair.
Audi presented its infotainment innovations earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas; now the brand will share them with a European audience. CeBIT in Hanover is the world’s most important and largest IT trade fair as well as a venue for showcasing many innovations in networking and connectivity. Audi recognized this early on and will be the first premium automotive manufacturer to have a substantial presence at CeBIT.
Information technology plays a pivotal role in Audi’s Vorsprung durch Technik. Intelligent IT solutions ensure the development and construction of top-quality vehicles. They allow employees to network, make our vehicles even more appealing and facilitate Audi connect services.
In contrast to many other manufacturers, Audi is not just a customer of IT companies. On the contrary, the Company has developed its own broad spectrum of expertise. Its joint ventures – such as e.solutions GmbH, a joint venture with Elektrobit – raise the bar. These partnerships enable Audi to add to its software excellence. Audi is similarly pursuing a new, integrated strategy regarding semiconductor technology.
The term “Audi connect” concerns the engineering field of networked mobility. In a rapidly changing world, people develop new needs. Networked IT communication solutions became part of everyday life some time ago – be it work-related or personal. Many people, especially younger ones, desire uninterrupted connectivity.
Audi connect satisfies these needs by linking the vehicle with the driver, the Internet, the infrastructure and with other vehicles. Audi connect not only puts the Internet into cars but also puts the car online – and into the world of cloud computing. Cars will be a part of Web 3.0, the intelligent Internet, which will interconnect everyday objects to make them smarter and handier. Innovative technology on board will grant Audi customers more safety, more comfort and more driving pleasure. In short: more experiences.
Audi owners with a Bluetooth online car phone can connect to the Internet via a UMTS module, and soon via LTE – the next-generation mobile communications standard. LTE can also play an important role in future car-to-X communication. It is a new technology which networks cars with each other and the transportation infrastructure to make driving cheaper and safer.
Audi connect provides drivers with customized services ranging from Audi online traffic information to Audi music stream, a new app which makes it possible to integrate online radio stations and a connected device’s music collection within the vehicle’s user interface. Audi will rapidly expand its portfolio of such services, by means of apps in many instances. Apps make it possible to remotely configure a car, for example. This is particularly intriguing with regard to future e-tron vehicles with electric drive units, as shown by current mobility plans for the Audi A1 e-tron.
Constantly connected in no way equates to distracted drivers, however. Indeed, new Audi connect technologies will make driving more convenient and further ease stress on drivers. Audi is therefore working at top speed on new control and display concepts. The new A3 – which Audi will show for the first time in Germany at CeBIT – boasts a great many control innovations, including its touchpad, its monitor, and the Audi Phone Box, a universal interface between cars and cell phones.
Moreover, Audi’s modular infotainment platform will debut in the new A3. It is a giant leap toward tomorrow’s mobile communications electronics. Its architecture makes it possible, for the first time, to easily update hardware to ensure it is always cutting-edge. A key component is the speedy graphics processor from Nvidia, the market leader, with whom Audi enjoys a very successful partnership. Going forward, the very latest Nvidia chips will always be used in Audi vehicles.
The success story of IT technologies is changing not only our means of transportation but also the world’s cities. Audi created the Audi Urban Future Initiative (AUFI) in 2010 to encourage people to analyze the future of cities with an eye on matters of mobility as well as make suggestions for urban renewal.
There will be a dedicated Audi Urban Future Initiative exhibit at CeBIT. It will showcase the five international proposals by the architects’ offices which participated in the first Audi Urban Future Award. In 2012, Audi is fostering discourse on “Cities and Mobility of Tomorrow” by means of the second award.
Networked mobility – Audi at CeBIT
Audi, the leading brand in automotive infotainment, will present itself at the CeBIT in Hanover, Germany for the first time ever. Under the “Audi connect” banner, the brand will present current and future solutions for mobile IT applications at the world’s largest trade fair for information technology from March 6 to 10. The highlight at Audi’s trade-fair stand is the new A3: its modular infotainment platform represents a significant engineering breakthrough.
IT by Audi
Audi is a leading brand in all categories of automotive technology. A key reason for this excellence is the Company’s wealth of IT knowledge, which has come to be a core area of expertise for Audi. New information technologies ensure the development and production of top-quality vehicles and allow employees to network globally. They likewise make vehicles – and the prospect of buying one – even more appealing
Audi’s IT expertise is a cornerstone of the high quality which distinguishes the brand. That is true of Technical Development at Audi as it is of the eight production sites and more than 100 markets in which Audi sells its vehicles worldwide. Without the comprehensive management of processes and systems – and without the utilization of virtual reality and augmented reality – Audi could not have grown so rapidly in recent years nor hope to continue growing in the years to come.
Our paperless production project at the Ingolstadt plant – a system slated to supersede decades of building certificates and inspection tags – is just one project being pursued by Audi’s IT department, which employs some 600 people in Germany. This system processes information from Technical Development, the Pre-Series Center and Planning to optimize control of machines and plants. Paperless production enables Audi to further optimize workstations and workflows, in turn boosting anew quality and efficiency at Production.
Most of the 64,000 people working worldwide for Audi network via IT. They can communicate in real time to share knowledge and swap expertise. Many of them can tailor their work to suit their personal preferences; working in virtual project rooms allows for mobility and flexibility. In this regard, Audi is molding the workplace of tomorrow.
Audi’s in-house social networks also break down the barriers which have traditionally separated business divisions to identify and promote innovations as well as realize them in our vehicles – in cooperation with external partners, too. A future addition to the interactive staff portal will comprise a new social network which allows experts to collaborate even more flexibly. It will further propel Audi toward an identity of “Enterprise 2.0.”
Apps for customers
Flexibility and mobility are of paramount importance to all IT endeavors at Audi. That includes providing employees with the latest smartphones and supplying apps to end customers. Audi’s very own App Center – created within Audi’s IT department in 2011 – plays a pivotal role in conceptualizing, developing and releasing apps.
Audi currently offers over a dozen apps for iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones to make life easier for customers. Just one example is the A1 app, which enables a mobile device to fetch operating instructions via augmented reality – thus rendering large handbooks obsolete. Audi maintains an impressive presence in key social networks. At the end of 2011, there were 5.6 million Facebook fans and 230,000 Twitter followers. Audi videos on YouTube registered more than 26 million views and over two million people visited www.audi.de in January 2012 alone.
Regarding communications between the brand and its customers, Audi IT services play a role from the very beginning: the moment people enter an Audi dealership’s showroom.
They can use a computer to configure their very own Audi and then admire high-resolution 3D images and remarkable computer-animated films of it – including any specified colors, materials and items of optional equipment. If they preconfigured a car before arriving, then the showroom configurator will display it in full HD. The 3D configurator is available in 18 European countries; more countries will be added.
Audi’s IT department is also on the job whenever an Audi driver requests certain Audi connect services such as weather information or the news. Such requests are transmitted via the mobile communications network to back-end servers in Ingolstadt, which identify the vehicle in question. Requests are then forwarded to content providers, which in turn deliver data directly to the customer’s vehicle.
Audi has already begun managing Audi connect data with cutting-edge precision. This is particularly intriguing in terms of the wireless use of media data via cloud computing, which Audi refers to as “seamless media.”
A provider can stream such data – for an audio book, for instance – via Audi servers to customers. The same Audi servers allow the customer to pause and resume playback whenever they wish. Audi is currently considering the option of itself handling all aspects of “seamless media.”
Audi’s modular back-end platform
Behind the scenes of all these innovations is a concept at Audi IT referred to as Audi’s modular back-end platform. It not only provides an online connection between every Audi worldwide and Audi’s computing center but also integrates a standardized interface to innovative content providers around the world. Audi works with a multitude of partners to provide customers with computing-center services and cloud services.
Going forward, Audi’s modular back-end platform will enable customers to tailor Audi connect services to their personal preferences. 8 / 39 www.audi-mediaservices.com
The vehicles of tomorrow will be able to identify drivers the moment they get into the car and provide them with a customized portfolio of data – such as their most frequent navigation destination or favorite music. No matter what, Audi will always strictly comply with all data protection and data security regulations to ensure that customer data remain secure.
IT endeavors with respect to Audi connect are facilitating new ways of working. Development cycles which have traditionally lasted years are being shortened to mere months. Audi consequently ensures that its customers can always enjoy the latest trends in their vehicles.
New computing center
In light of all these developments, Audi is rapidly expanding its IT facilities. There are already three computing centers on plant premises in Ingolstadt. They comprise some 3,000 servers, which collectively coordinate around 500 applications and provide approximately 6,000 terabytes of storage space. Audi’s IT department attends to some 50,000 Windows users, 54,000 e-mail inboxes and 8,000 databases.
A new computing center will become operational in just a few months. Encompassing two underground levels of the recently constructed SE Forum
(SE = Simultaneous Engineering) in the northern sector of plant premises, this new computing center offers 2,000 square meters (21,528 square feet) for IT equipment. As many as 6,000 servers and network components will be interconnected via some 3,000 km (1,864 miles) of fiber-optic cables and
70,000 plugs. The overall power consumption of all IT systems in the new computing center is estimated at 4 megawatts.
This tremendous computing power notwithstanding, energy consumption at the new data center will be kept relatively low. Audi will rely heavily on energy-efficient techniques such as indirect evaporative cooling. This technology will utilize outside air to regulate the temperature inside the computing center for six months every year.
An active power management system featuring some 15,000 measuring points is expected to help reduce annual energy consumption at IT by about 35 percent – a CO2 equivalent of 9,000 metric tons every year.
Not only IT is expanding at Audi; all other departments are also growing considerably. This necessitates additional staff. After hiring some 3,500 newcomers in 2011, the brand is looking to hire another 1,200 experts this year – especially in the fields of electric mobility, ultra lightweight design and Audi connect. CeBIT visitors interested in electrical engineering, electronics, IT and vehicle engineering can speak with Human Resources representatives from Audi about options such as trainee programs and employment opportunities.
Audi connect today
The term “Audi connect” covers all applications and developments that connect Audi models to the owner, the Internet, the infrastructure and other vehicles. Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at Audi, describes it like this: “A defining feature of the last decade was that we fully integrated all the functions in the vehicle. In the decade to come, we will seamlessly network the vehicle with its environment.”
Audi began working toward this long ago. Indeed, partnerships with Google (software) and Nvidia (hardware) started back in 2005. Internet services became available in Audi cars for the first time in 2009. This strategy resulted in the brand’s technological lead in the field of infotainment, which many Audi models offer today.
For many young customers, the automobile’s image is changing. It has evolved from a status symbol to a mobile device: a technological object that lets its users be online and connected while on the move. The Audi brand has developed its new customized Audi connect services with this in mind. 10
Bluetooth online car phone and voice control
The Bluetooth online car phone is available in many models; it connects to the internet via a UMTS module that is integrated in the MMI navigation plus system. An additional feature of this system, the WLAN hotspot makes it possible for passengers to connect as many as eight mobile terminal devices, from iPhones to notebook computers. Thanks to WPA2 data encryption, they can safely surf the Internet and e-mail to their heart’s content.
The Bluetooth online car phone is operated via MMI navigation plus, the multifunction steering wheel or voice control. Telephone calls and data transfer are handled by a roof antenna to optimize connectivity. All the driver needs to do to go online is insert a data-capable SIM card in the card reader. Alternatively, they can connect their cell phone to the system via Bluetooth if it is equipped with the necessary SIM Access Profile.
Audi is already the leading brand in ergonomics, and objective tests have repeatedly confirmed this. That is also true of the voice-activated control system available for many models. Key functions of the audio system, navigation and telephone – including address book – can be operated by voice control.
If a Bluetooth online car phone is installed, voice control can also be used to operate the Google POI search. Especially here, and in navigation, the Audi system proves to be a very strong performer. The driver can input his or her entire destination – city, street and house number – in a very natural way by speaking it in a single sentence. He can also input the names of radio stations, media titles and contacts.
As an alternative to voice control, a second user control level is available in most Audi models in the form of a large rotary pushbutton. In the top model lines and the new A3, Audi also offers the innovative touchpad, MMI touch, which operates with handwriting recognition. The driver writes letters or numbers on the touch-sensitive screen with a finger and the system provides acoustic feedback after each character is entered.
The innovative MMI touch is particularly appealing for speakers of Asian languages, as the system can distinguish and process thousands of characters from different languages.
Current Audi connect services
The Bluetooth online car phone provides customers with many customized Audi connect services such as news, travel and weather information, and Google points of interest. Drivers can use myAudi to plan routes on their home computers, upload them to their account on www.audi.com and then transfer them to their vehicle prior to departure. If desired, the driver can view the map with background aerial and satellite images from Google Earth.
An especially attractive service is Audi online traffic information. This service displays current traffic flow data on the navigation map. If the route chosen by the driver has free-flowing traffic, it is shown in green; yellow indicates dense or slow-moving traffic, and red signifies a traffic jam. In this case, Audi online traffic information identifies the traffic problem in a text and suggests an alternative route that does not lead right to another traffic jam.
Audi’s system operates more quickly, precisely and intelligently than the existing TMC and TMC pro solutions. It also includes cities and rural routes. The primary source of data for the database is hundreds of thousands of smartphones and navigation devices which are in vehicles and report their current positions at short intervals to service providers via the cell phone network. The data then provide a nuanced portrayal of traffic flows. Audi online traffic information has been launched in Central Europe, France, the UK and Italy; additional countries will follow in quick succession.
Another new Audi connect service is the POI (Point Of Interest) search, which can be operated via the voice control system. The driver simply chooses a destination and specifies their interest – the name of a restaurant, for instance. The voice command, or “voice tag,” is converted to a small data packet that is sent to the Google search engine.
Results which appear on the onboard monitor often include the telephone number of the restaurant and additional information. A single click will reserve a table. The POI search function is so versatile that drivers can simply specify a word such as “flowers” – and a list of florists appears.
Google Street View, yet another Audi connect function, makes it far easier to get oriented. It allows drivers to preview a selected destination via 360-degree panoramic street-level images.
A further innovation is Audi music stream, the first smartphone app by Audi connect. Users can thus tune in to over 5,000 online radio stations and store their favorites on a mobile device. Thanks to WLAN, this function is fully integrated within the operating philosophy of MMI navigation plus, allowing for intuitive user friendliness.
Audi connect tomorrow
A crucial aspect for the future networking of cars will be the cell phone network. The LTE standard, designed to exchange large amounts of data, will open up entirely new possibilities in this field. Audi is already developing an array of next-generation Audi connect technologies.
The LTE mobile communications standard
In most countries, mobile-device data is transferred via UMTS networks (UMTS = Universal Mobile Telecommunications System). Depending on the type of configuration, the third generation (3G) of this mobile communications standard currently enables a transfer rate of up to 28.8 MBit per second.
For the near future, Audi is relying on the fourth generation, or 4G, standard that is referred to as LTE (Long Term Evolution). The new network is currently being set up; it enables data rates of 150 MBit/s and considerably faster response times. Commercial LTE networks already exist in several European countries and in the USA.
LTE technology enables the exchange of large files, such as music and movies, in HD quality. This is especially appealing to front and rear passengers. The on-board WLAN hotspot allows them to do different things on different mobile terminal devices at the same time. One passenger can participate in a video conference while another watches a YouTube video.
Contact between the vehicle and the workshop will also run via LTE in the future. The fast mobile communications network can transmit software updates directly to the car. In Germany, LTE is already available in some cities and in many rural areas, as well. Audi is striving to be the first automotive manufacturer to provide the new service in its vehicles.
Data in the cloud
The speedy LTE mobile communications network will promote “data in the cloud” pursuits considerably. While specific data such as customer data is protected on IT servers in Ingolstadt, customers can store via online servers whichever music, photo or video files they choose. Audi envisions such cloud-based use of media under the banner of “seamless media.”
Users of “seamless media” can use any terminal device at any time to access and enjoy such files from external servers. Imagine, for instance, that a child is watching a film at home on an iPad. The child can simply pause the film, get in the car, and resume watching content without missing anything. Data is routed via the customer’s SIM card.
In the medium term, Audi is working on integrating Twitter and Facebook into its cars – in a way that permits safe and convenient use for drivers. Incoming messages are read aloud; templates are used to create outgoing messages.
Intermodal route planner
Audi’s intermodal route planner is a visionary tool for the mobility of tomorrow. It allows people to plan relatively long journeys which entail using two or more modes of transportation. It is especially appealing for owners of electric vehicles, who generally drive only short distances. The intermodal route planner is an intelligent software solution which can be used on smartphones and via an MMI terminal inside an Audi.
As soon as a user selects a destination, a list appears of every available mode of transportation: by car, plane, train or bus, or on foot. As soon as a route has been planned, the software will guide the user step by step. If he is in his car, for example, the route planner will guide him to the train station. While riding the rails, he can access information about the station at which he will change trains or board a bus. Last but not least, local maps help people on foot get oriented and find their way.
Prepared and provided by Audi’s back-end servers, information is transmitted seamlessly to smartphones and MMI monitors alike. A package of mobility information rounds out the range of services by providing the user with tailored, trip-specific information regarding flights, train schedules and parking options.
Apps for smartphones
Yet another key topic of tomorrow at Audi concerns smartphone apps. Many of them are not suitable for use while driving. Therefore, Audi has developed its own customized applications that customers can use to personalize their cars.
For example, Audi apps make it possible to check on and configure the car remotely. This will be of particular interest regarding the electrically powered e-tron models. Drivers will be able to check on the battery level from their home and then determine which charging stations they might patronize.
A key aspect of Audi connect is the networking of the car with other vehicles and the transportation infrastructure. Car-to-X communication opens up many new opportunities for making driving safer, more relaxed and more economical.
Cars networked with each other can alert drivers to wet or icy roads; they can also communicate to avoid accidents at, for example, intersections. If they are networked with traffic lights, such vehicles can accurately anticipate green lights for uninterrupted cruising. Insights into traffic flows can promote an energy-efficient driving style – which is especially important for electric mobility.
There are two different scenarios for the establishment of car-to-X technology, which Audi is helping to promote. In the one scenario, the LTE mobile communications network plays a key role. It routes data centrally to the servers of service providers, who then transmit individually prepared data to individual vehicles. The other scenario relies on decentralized communication via automotive WLAN. Cars send data spontaneously and autonomously from one vehicle to another in a chain, which represents a new form of collective intelligence.
This new standard was specially designed for mobile applications. Automotive WLAN, which operates at a frequency of 5.9 GHz, has a range of about two kilometers and is even suitable for very high driving speeds. In the European catalog of communication standards, it is listed as standard ITS-G5; the acronym ITS stands for “intelligent transportation systems.” A special antenna is needed in addition to a receiver module on an automobile’s roof.
Audi development projects in the car-to-X field include the intersection assistant (see below) and what is known as street preview. Similar to Audi online traffic information, it notifies the driver of traffic conditions along a selected route. In this project, however, data is transferred by automotive WLAN: suitably equipped vehicles act as transmitters and mutually inform one another of traffic conditions. 16 / 39 www.audi-mediaservices.com
Even with relatively few vehicles, this system generates the very latest and precise representations of traffic situations. Audi and other German carmakers want to introduce WLAN-based street preview as soon as possible; it is set to be launched this decade.
Car-to-X communication also bears great potential regarding headlights. One of many conceivable scenarios is a car stopped at a red light or stuck in a traffic jam. During this period, the headlights are considerably dimmed or switched off completely to save energy and to avoid potentially annoying other road users. When cars are able to exchange data directly, they can coordinate the brightness of their headlights in dense stop-and-go traffic or at intersections, for instance. Roads can thus always be effectively illuminated without drivers’ eyes being dazzled.
User controls and display in the new Audi A3
The A3 is just the latest instance of Audi consolidating one of its greatest strengths: simple and intuitive operation. This compact car, which will be launched in many countries very soon, offers many advanced solutions. Several of them concern infotainment – its hardware, software and user control.
Audi and Nvidia
“German engineering meets Silicon Valley” – a fitting slogan to describe Audi’s partnership with the Nvidia Corporation. Utilizing the fast graphic processors that the Company supplies for many model lines, Audi has attained a leading position in automotive infotainment. Nvidia processors have enabled innovations such as the world’s first integration of Google Earth images and on-board navigation maps.
Audi and Nvidia began working together in 2005. The A4, launched in 2007, used a chip from this producer based in Santa Clara, California. Two years later, the A8 attained a new dimension of visual display using Nvidia technology.
Now, Audi and Nvidia are launching the next stage of their partnership: the new modular infotainment platform utilizes Tegra processors.
The modular infotainment platform
The Audi A3 is the brand’s first model to offer features from the modular infotainment platform. Audi is using this radically new architecture to solve a challenge that is becoming increasingly urgent. Innovations in consumer electronics and rapid gains in computing power occur far more rapidly compared to product cycles of automotive manufacturers.
The central computer in the modular infotainment platform, such as the one Audi currently uses, comprises two units: the Radio Car Control Unit and what is known as the MMX board (MMX: Multi-Media eXtension). The latter is a high-performance plug-in module which integrates – in addition to the RAM and flash-memory modules – the latest Tegra processor from Nvidia. It handles all voice control, online, media, navigation and telephone functions. The new modular layout makes it easy to update the hardware; the fact that the MMX board can be replaced keeps the system at the cutting edge of technology.
In the new Audi A3, the T 20 processor of the Tegra 2 series from market leader Nvidia is used. It is a dual-core processor with 1.2 GHz clock frequency and a fast graphics card. It accelerates playback of many audio and video formats, such as mp3 audio and mpeg4 video, which dominate the world of mobile entertainment.
The T 20 processor works together with a graphics program (known as a 3D engine) from the specialist Rightware, making Audi the first automobile manufacturer able to display three-dimensional graphics in a vehicle. The new A3 is stored in the system as a data model, allowing the driver and passengers to virtually explore it in detail from many different angles.
In 2013, the next generation of processors will make its way into Audi cars: the Tegra 30, which Nvidia recently introduced. With built-in quad-core technology, it operates at up to 1.4 GHz clock frequency. 18 / 39 www.audi-mediaservices.com
As in the T 20, its power requirements are minimal – which fits in perfectly with Audi’s efficiency strategy. Nvidia is planning even more powerful chips for upcoming years, and Audi will introduce them in its cars soon after they appear.
The software that runs on the MMX boards also has a modular structure and was developed by Audi largely independently of the hardware. In mid-2009 e.solutions GmbH was founded: a joint venture between Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, a fully owned subsidiary of AUDI AG, and Elektrobit Automotive GmbH, a division of the Finnish IT company Elektrobit. Audi contributes its expertise in automotive infotainment to the partnership, while Elektrobit contributes its know-how as a globally active software company in the infotainment and system integration fields.
More than 150 software specialists at facilities of this young company in Ingolstadt and Erlangen work to develop new modular infotainment solutions. e.solutions GmbH purchases functional software on the global market, e.g. for navigation or telephony, and integrates it into the e.solutions software suite.
Audi’s semiconductor strategy
Microchips are increasingly important not only regarding infotainment, but in all other automotive regards, as well. Semiconductors are rapidly becoming ever more complex and manufacturers are morphing from conventional suppliers into equal partners. Audi is working at top speed to promote progress by means of a strategy called PSCP: Progressive Semi-Conductor Program.
Regarded as strategic partners, eight semiconductor manufacturers will be involved by Audi in development efforts as will the manufacturer of the control unit which makes use of the microchips. We have already successfully completed trial projects. By debating matters intensely with one another, all parties will benefit thanks to better results and fascinating innovations going forward. Moreover, Audi is amassing in-house expertise in semiconductor technology to handle R&D even more adeptly over time.
The new MMI terminal
In addition to the voice-activated control system, the MMI terminal also controls the numerous infotainment functions in the new Audi A3. Engineers designed a new interface from the ground up, giving special consideration to the slim center tunnel console in this compact Audi model.
The key component here is a brand-new part which combines a touchpad with a rotary pushbutton. The pushbutton has a cap with a touch-sensitive surface that lets users enter characters by finger movement. The handwriting recognition system is of the highest quality; the large touchwheel moves with high precision and clicks precisely into place. The pad is surrounded and illuminated by an LED and a light guide.
Two rocker switches in front of the touchwheel directly operate the most important areas of Telephone/Navigation and Media/Radio, while a Menu key and a Back key complete the key set. The four softkeys for navigating through the menus are also chrome-plated, as are the two rocker switches that are used for direct operations. A volume control knob, which can be used to skip tracks, complements the MMI user terminal in the new Audi A3.
Audi has completely revised not only the operation, but also the structure and many details of menus. In the media area, for instance, the player and media center are clearly separated; song titles, albums and artists can be located directly via free text search. The POI search in the navigation system has been simplified; traffic information can be called up via the map. Audi connect services are now portrayed in a designated menu. The CAR menu allows the driver to operate Audi drive select, and many telephone functions have been enhanced.
The new monitor
In the new Audi A3, images are displayed on a 7-inch screen. Thanks to its very high contrast and resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, it delivers brilliant, very sharp 3D graphics; highly efficient LEDs supply its backlighting.
The display extends electrically and elegantly from the instrument panel, and is slightly angled towards the driver. It is a mere 11 millimeters thick – similar to a smartphone. Its layer of glass is united directly with the surface of the TFT screen by means of a special lamination process. There is no air between the two components, which enhances visual output. The coated housing is made of ultra-light magnesium, which saves about 50 grams in weight. High-gloss and chrome accents lend it an elegant touch.
Audi Phone Box
Another option available in the new Audi A3 is the Audi Phone Box, which perfectly links cell phones of any type with the vehicle. Its key component is a universal planar antenna, which is integrated in the center armrest’s phone storage tray.
The telephone utilizes near-field coupling to communicate with the flat planar antenna, which routes signals via an amplifier to the vehicle antenna. The power supply for the cell phone runs via a USB port in the Audi Phone Box. For the medium term, Audi is working on a solution for contactless charging of cell phones.
Display and operating philosophies of tomorrow
Uninterrupted connectivity paired with safe and low-stress driving is possible only with new approaches to display and operation. Audi has stepped up the pace of development in this area.
The head-up display of tomorrow
Audi already offers numerous display and operation technologies which enable drivers to remain composed and in control. One of them is the head-up display, which lets drivers keep their eyes on the road. All key information from the areas of navigation, traffic signs, the car itself and assistance systems appear to hover about 2.3 meters (7.55 feet) in front of the driver, in his or her direct field of vision. 21 / 39 www.audi-mediaservices.com
The next generation of this technology will take a significant step forward. A type of display known as the contact-analogue head-up display positions symbols right in the real environment. As an Audi approaches an intersection with the navigation system activated, the driver sees a transparent route arrow outside of the vehicle, positioned precisely at the real intersection. As the intersection nears, the arrow becomes larger. At a distance of 10 meters (32.81 feet), it appears to be about the same size as a real physical arrow on the pavement.
That is not all that contact-analogue head-up displays will be able to do. In hilly terrain, the navigation arrow can show the direction the road will take after the hilltop. If the driver is driving with adaptive cruise control activated, the distance to the vehicle ahead is displayed conspicuously. If the night vision system is active, and a pedestrian steps out onto the street, the display precisely shows the direction the pedestrian is coming from and his or her distance from the car. In the contact-analogue head-up display, the projection window – which is referred to as the eyebox – is located somewhat higher on the windshield than today and is about as large as an iPad.
The head-up displays of tomorrow will be able to show information just to the driver or just the front-seat passenger – or to all vehicle occupants. In this scenario, the driver and the front-seat passenger will each have a dedicated head-up display showing digital travel guidebooks, the news or video-call images. Visible to all occupants is a central third projection, whose image appears to lie on the windshield.
Information which the driver needs is portrayed in the form of symbols, still images, and simple animations. Some symbols, such as the navigation arrow, are shown via the contact-analogue head-up display. The front-seat passenger, conversely, can take full advantage of video functions. The images he sees are generated by means of DLP (Digital Light Processing), a new technology which boosts brightness and contrast.
If the front-seat passenger comes across an interesting destination in a digital travel guidebook, such as a restaurant, he can swipe it to the central screen with a simple movement. It will be displayed there as a still image. 22 / 39 www.audi-mediaservices.com
The driver can then opt to swipe the destination to his head-up display to have the navigation system add the destination to the route. A small camera detects the movements and directs the appropriate signals to the system.
As for upcoming control concepts, Audi has plenty more in store. The brand is working on multi-touch technology similar to that found in smartphones and tablets. A multi-touch approach makes it much faster and simpler to use lists, maps, and similar information.
Driver assistance systems of today
From adaptive cruise control with stop & go function to speed limit display: Audi offers a broad assortment of assistance systems that make driving even more relaxed and under control. In some of the large model lines, these systems are networked closely together, which gives them a high level of intelligence, versatility and capability.
Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go function
The core component of the Audi driver assistance systems is adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop & go function. The system regulates the vehicle’s speed and distance to the vehicle ahead by autonomously accelerating and braking over a speed range from 0 to 250 km/h (155.34 mph).
ACC stop & go employs two rear-mounted radar sensors, which are heated automatically in cold weather. The sensors transmit radar waves at a frequency of 76.5 gigahertz in order to detect objects up to 250 meters (820 feet) ahead of the vehicle. This sensor-based system evaluates the signals and, within system constraints, detects vehicles ahead.
The driver can influence the function of the ACC stop & go; the interval to the vehicle ahead and the control system dynamics are adjustable in several steps, from sporty to comfortable. The maximum rate of deceleration which the system allows is limited to roughly 4 m/s², which is a good third of what is possible.
In stop-and-go traffic, ACC stop & go automatically slows the car to a stop. After a brief stop, such as at a traffic light, it automatically drives off and follows the vehicle ahead; after a longer stop, the driver must tap the accelerator pedal or briefly activate the control stalk. But first the system employs the video camera and radar sensors to check in front of the vehicle. It is used to detect potential hazards, such as pedestrians who cross the street at the last second. This is supplemented by detailed information from the parking assistant’s ultrasonic sensors.
Adaptive cruise control with stop & go function interacts closely with other driver assistance systems; it utilizes the data of 27 control units to continuously analyze all of the vehicle’s surroundings. This wealth of information allows the system to recognize complex scenarios and proactively aid the driver. Because it works in conjunction with the navigation system, it knows which route lies ahead and can use this information to control the vehicle’s speed.
ACC stop & go applies its knowledge in many different situations. Whether it is a matter of quickly passing a car that is making a right turn onto a highway, or whether another vehicle is merging into the vehicle’s lane on the freeway, the system handles many diverse situations like a skilled driver – with reflection and composure – and this makes driving more fluid and harmonious.
Audi offers a number of versions of adaptive cruise control for different model lines – without the stop & go function, too. The individual versions differ slightly in their mode of operation due to the different degrees of networking and configurations.
Audi active lane assist
A very recent addition to Audi’s line-up of assistance systems is Audi active lane assist – available for most model lines which feature electromechanical power steering. At speeds above approx. 60 km/h (37 mph), it uses a camera mounted in front of the rearview mirror to detect lane markings. The camera observes the road to a distance of over 50 meters (164 ft) and a scanning angle of about
Software detects lane markings and the car’s actual course between them. If the vehicle approaches a line without the turn signal being activated, the system assists the driver in steering back into the lane by a gentle yet perceptible steering intervention in the electromechanical steering system. The driver uses the MMI to set how soon the intervention should occur and whether it should be combined with vibration feedback in the steering wheel. If the driver opts for early intervention, the system keeps the car more precisely centered in the lane – a function that clearly sets Audi apart from the competition.
The camera of Audi active lane assist in the A6 and A7 provides differentiated information. For example, it can distinguish the yellow lines in construction zones from white lines. Its image data is also used by other assistance systems, including ACC stop & go, speed limit display, the Audi pre sense front safety system and variable headlight range control.
Audi side assist
The lane change assistant Audi side assist is available for a whole host of Audi models. It monitors traffic behind the vehicle and warns the driver of critical lane changes as necessary. The system begins to operate at a speed of about
30 km/h (18.64 mph). Two 24 gigahertz radar sensors in the rear observe what is happening behind the vehicle to a distance of 70 meters (229.66 ft). Their data are analyzed by a computer.
If they detect another vehicle that is in the critical zone – that is, traveling in the blind spot or quickly approaching from behind – the information stage is activated. A yellow LED indicator lights up in the side mirror housing without distracting the driver, since the driver only sees it when looking directly at the mirror. However, if the driver activates the turn signal to change lanes, the indicator becomes brighter and flashes multiple times. This pulsed signal – the warning stage – is very noticeable. The optical signals are aimed at the driver. Their brightness varies according to the ambient light level and can be set individually via the MMI user terminal.
The night vision assistant
The core component of the night vision assistant is a thermal imaging camera located at the front of the vehicle. It has an scanning angle of 24 degrees, its protective window is cleaned by its own washer nozzle, and it is heated in cold weather. As a far infrared system (FIR), the camera registers heat radiated by objects in the field of view. A computer converts information from the camera to black-and-white images and displays them on the central display between the instruments.
Far infrared technology can look up to 300 meters (984 ft) ahead, far beyond the range of the high beams, and it is not affected by glare from headlights or similar light sources. Primarily, it focuses on what is most important: people. Regardless of whether they appear bright or dark to the human eye, they are conspicuously bright in the image due the heat they give off, whereas the cooler surroundings appear dark.
The image processing software can detect persons at a range of approximately 100 meters (328.08 ft). In analyzing the data, it specifically seeks out human characteristics, e.g. their contours. Any person detected is highlighted in yellow on the screen. If the control unit predicts a hazard – for example, because a person is crossing the road in front of the car – the person is marked in red and a warning tone sounds. A warning also appears in the optional head-up display.
The image contrast can be configured individually via the MMI. Like every assistance system, the night vision assistant is also subject to certain system constraints. Highlighting of detected pedestrians is deactivated when the air temperature exceeds 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), for example.
Audi offers a variety of automatic parking systems for its entire model line-up. They operate by means of either ultrasound or cameras, which display images via the on-board monitor.
One particularly convenient solution is park assist. When backing into a parking space, it performs all the necessary steering movements; it can handle both parallel parking and parking perpendicular to the street. The system finds a parking space with side-mounted ultrasound sensors that scan the parking spaces at the side of the road in two dimensions while driving at moderate speed. The system notifies the driver via a message in the display once the sensors have found a space which is large enough.
If the driver wishes to park in the space offered, he or she shifts into reverse and the park assist system takes over the steering. The driver now only needs to accelerate, shift gears and brake; visual and acoustic use guidance supports the driver here. When parallel parking, the detected space is large enough if it is about 0.8 meters (2.62 ft) longer than the vehicle. Park assist can perform multi-point parking maneuvers and also offers support in leaving parking spaces.
The latest technology from Audi is the parking system plus with surround view cameras. Four small cameras – in the single-frame grille, at the rear and in both side mirror housings – capture images of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings. The driver can call up a variety of views on the large onboard monitor, including front-camera and rear-camera perspectives as well as a virtual top-down view. The parking system plus with surround view camera also comes in handy when lines of sight are obstructed. Special viewpoints allow it to analyze cross-traffic otherwise invisible to the driver in front of or behind the vehicle.
Speed limit display
Like all assistance systems from Audi, the speed limit display helps to make the driver’s tasks easier. It shows the driver the detected maximum allowable speed in the instrument cluster or head-up display.
A camera mounted on the windshield behind the rearview mirror serves as the primary sensor. Within system constraints, it detects speed limit signs posted on the side of the road as well as digital speed signs. The detected traffic signs are analyzed and compared against the data from the navigation systems, the maximum permissible speeds in the respective country and information from the vehicle, such as whether the wipers are on and the current time.
Audi pre sense safety system
Audi pre sense is a technology package for anticipatory safety. It is available in a number of different configurations for larger Audi model models. In the standard version – Audi pre sense basic – the system evaluates information from the ESP sensors. If they signal that full braking or skidding is occurring, the control unit intervenes. Depending on the situation, it might activate the hazard warning lights and begin to close the side windows and sunroof; it also pretensions the front seat belts. This pretensioning process, which is initiated by small electric motors, is reversible. If an accident does not occur, the seat belts are untensioned.
This safety system’s configurations are: Audi pre sense front, Audi pre sense rear and Audi pre sense plus. They work closely together with the Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go function and Audi side assist driver assistance systems.
Audi pre sense front monitors traffic in front of the car for potential collision hazards. The system provides multiple levels of driver support. The first warning consists of a visual and audible signal. If the driver does not react, then the system briefly brakes the vehicle – a jolt which serves as the second warning. If the driver begins braking, then the system helps by adjusting the brake pressure so a collision can be avoided.
Should the driver remain passive, the third stage follows: partial braking. This decelerates the vehicle with about one-third of the possible pedal force. The windows and sunroof begin to close, and the hazard warning lights are activated. The seat belt is also pretensioned in this case.
If the car has the full version of Audi pre sense plus, a fourth stage comes into play: a second round of partial braking – but this time at a moderate level – followed by maximum braking, during which the seat belts are fully pretensioned. This occurs shortly before impact, when a collision cannot be avoided any longer. Audi pre sense plus helps to reduce the vehicle’s speed by up to 40 km/h (24.85 mph) before impact, which reduces accident severity.
On some models, Audi pre sense front integrates an additional function to protect against imminent rear-end collisions at low speeds. At speeds under 30 km/h (18.64 mph) the function automatically brakes the car in critical situations – with almost full braking force, if necessary – regardless of whether the vehicle in front is moving or stationary. At speeds under 20 km/h (12.43 mph) the function can often prevent an accident entirely; in other cases, it significantly reduces the vehicle’s speed at impact.
The Audi pre sense rear system utilizes the Audi side assist sensors and reduces the severity of a rear-end collision. Here, too, it closes the windows and sunroof and pretensions the seat belts. If the car has optional front memory seats, they adjust to a more favorable position for passenger safety.
The adaptive restraint system
In many models, passengers are protected by the Audi adaptive restraint system, which in some model lines is networked with the anticipatory safety system Audi pre sense. It provides better protection for passengers of different heights than conventional systems, because the interplay of airbags and seatbelt force limiters is managed intelligently.
Sensors on the front seat rails detect how far forward or back the seat is positioned. Because the control unit then knows the approximate position of the passenger relative to the seat, it can optimize use of the distance over which the upper body is decelerated by the seat belt and the airbag. Together with Audi pre sense, it reduces this distance by several centimeters because the belts are pretensioned before the crash occurs.
If a passenger is sitting close to an airbag, after the airbag inflates a portion of the air is quickly expelled via valves so that the airbag restrains the head and chest more gently. In other cases, the valves remain closed longer. The variable belt force limiters are also designed to be adaptive. They control belt tension to keep chest loads as low as possible. Loads on the feet and legs are reduced by bracing structures, energy-absorbing pads and crash-optimized pedals.
The structural design of the seats and head restraints is an important safety feature, especially in the case of a rear-end collision. Such accidents occur time and again at intersections, with impact speeds typically ranging from 15 to 50 km/h (9.32 to 31.07 mph). Within a mere tenth of a second, seat backs are suddenly moving at 7 to 25 km/h (4.35 to 15.53 mph). The integral head restraint system, which is standard in every Audi model, counteracts the risk of whiplash injuries here.
All Audi models are equipped with either two or four side airbags to support the pelvis and chest of occupants in the event of a side impact. The side airbags also protect the head in convertibles as well as the R8 and TT; in all other models, this task is handled by the head airbag system. Covering an area which extends from the A-pillar to the C-pillar, it unfolds like a curtain from the roof frame to the door window sill. Three-point automatic belts with belt tensioners and ISOFIX mountings for child seats round out the safety package.
Driver assistance systems of tomorrow
Driver assistance systems that Audi is developing for the near future will be even smarter, more versatile and more capable than today’s solutions. Although they do not detract from the responsibility of the person at the wheel, they will make driving even easier and more enjoyable.
Traffic jam assistant
The traffic jam assistant, a visionary technology from Audi, can relieve the driver at times when driving is not much fun, such as in congested traffic. At speeds between zero and 60 km/h (37.28 mph), the system helps to steer the car within certain constraints. It also accelerates and brakes autonomously.
The traffic jam assistant is based on the functionality of adaptive cruise control with stop & go, extended by adding the component of lateral guidance. Two radar sensors monitor everything up to 250 meters (820.21 feet) ahead of the vehicle as per a scanning angle of about 35 degrees. A wide-angle video camera monitors the lane markings; it can also detect objects such as other vehicles, pedestrians and guardrails. Eight ultrasonic sensors monitor zones directly in front of the car and at its corners.
If ACC stop & go is turned on, the traffic jam assistant continuously analyzes the car’s speed and the speeds of nearby vehicles. If it detects a traffic jam from the data at speeds below 60 km/h (37.28 mph), the driver can activate its functionality by pressing a button.
The corridor within which the traffic jam assistant controls the car permits a certain gap to the vehicle ahead. The radar sensors detect not only the vehicle ahead but also others, which enables the system to recognize a de facto lane even in the absence of lane markings. The traffic jam assistant behaves exactly like Audi ACC stop & go in accelerating and braking; it also reacts to cars moving into or out of the lane.
Audi pre sense city
Many existing Audi vehicles can slow themselves down over the last few meters before an imminent collision if the driver is no longer able to intervene. Automatic maximum braking initiated by the vehicle in urban traffic, also known as Audi pre sense city, is based on a new type of sensor technology – and Audi played a major role in its fundamental development. The PMD sensor (PMD: photo mix detector) is a small chip that can measure distances in three dimensions, and it can do so more precisely than conventional sensors. It can detect moving and stationary targets alike; moreover, it actively operates in darkness, rain or bright sunshine.
If a collision seems imminent at speeds below 65 km/h (40.39 mph), Audi pre sense city warns the driver by briefly pulsing the brakes. If the driver does not react, the system applies full braking force about one second before impact. This can reduce the speed at impact by up to 30 km/h (18.64 mph).
Another important function is anticipatory protection of pedestrians, which the PMD sensor can detect at distances of up to 20 meters (65.62 ft). If it signals a potentially hazardous situation, the system decides whether emergency braking is necessary. If so, full braking would ideally begin about one second before impact in this case, too. The maximum possible speed reduction of 30 km/h (18.64 mph) is sometimes enough to bring the car to a full stop in time to prevent a collision. The anticipatory pre sense technology offers very good protection for cyclists, as well.
Active emergency braking
Audi is developing another configuration of the pre sense system that can automatically perform full braking at speeds over 65 km/h (40.39 mph). Its core component is a laser scanner: a technology whose strengths lie in long-distance scanning, a high level of precision and a large scanning angle. The laser also scans zones to the sides in front of the car, which lets it detect construction activities on the edge of the road.
If there is an obstacle in front of the vehicle, such as the end of a traffic jam, the system evaluates whether the driver can still take evasive action.
If evasive action is no longer possible, a timely warning is provided, and automatic full braking is initiated as necessary. This strategy achieves deceleration from relatively high vehicle speeds, which in turn can significantly reduce accident severity. It can also help in situations where the driver cannot react due to a medical emergency. In some scenarios, the system’s braking interventions could conceivably prevent accidents despite high initial speeds.
Active seatbelt buckle
Audi is continually working to enhance its restraint systems. Another potential innovation: active seatbelt buckles for rear passengers that are moved by small electric motors. When a rear door is opened, the active seatbelt buckle would move upward several centimeters to make it easier for passengers to buckle up; it would then return to its rest position. In case of an imminent collision, the buckle would be moved downward somewhat to pretension the seat belt; this process would be reversible.
As a general practice, Audi will be networking the adaptive restraint system more intensively with new assistance technologies. Forward-looking sensors such as PMD diodes can usually identify an imminent collision a few seconds before it occurs while also estimating the speed and size of the other vehicle. The adaptive belt force limiters and adaptive front airbags are triggered based on this information.
The intersection assistant was designed to help avoid collisions, or reduce their severity, wherever lanes merge and at intersections. Two radar sensors and a wide-angle video camera scan zones to the front and sides of the vehicle. The radar-based data takes the lead here, while the camera data is used for adjustments.
If the sensors detect a vehicle approaching from the side and view the situation as critical, the system informs and warns the driver over a number of stages.
Audi is exploring a second variant, which is an extension of the sensor-supported intersection assistant. It is based on car-to-X communication and utilizes automotive WLAN between the two vehicles that could potentially become involved in an accident. This could be supplemented by a hardwired modem, which could also consider the colors of traffic lights when gauging a situation.
Car-to-X technology exhibits a number of strengths. For one, it can operate at intersections where the line of sight of sensors fitted on the vehicle may be blocked. It is also effective over long distances and transmits vehicle-specific information. This information could be used to adapt airbag deployment to the weight of the other accident vehicle, for example.
Warning system for backing out of parking spaces
Backing out of a parking space at right angles to the road can often be a tricky maneuver. If, for instance, a delivery van parked next to him is blocking the driver’s view of the traffic passing at right angles behind his own car, he must cautiously edge the car out into the street. A warning system for backing out of parking spaces – another future solution from Audi – makes this process easier.
The system utilizes the two Audi side assist radar sensors at the rear of the vehicle. They measure and interpret the distance, speed and anticipated driving paths of vehicles detected in cross traffic. Predicted collision risks are displayed.
Warning when opening the door
The exit warning system also utilizes the radar sensors of Audi side assist. This system offers excellent assistance when exiting the vehicle on busy roads. When the driver or a passenger starts to open a door, the sensors check whether a vehicle or cyclist is approaching from the rear at a hazardous distance and a critical speed. If it is not advisable to open the door at that moment, the driver or passenger is provided with a warning.
When parking in narrow spaces that are perpendicular to the driving lane – or in garages in which there are not just cars but also bicycles and other items – parking is often so tight that the driver must struggle to get out of the car afterwards. The park pilot, a further technological vision from Audi, could solve these problems.
Utilizing technology that is installed in an Audi prototype, the driver can exit the vehicle in front of the garage and instruct it to autonomously park itself via the remote key fob or by smartphone. With the help of its ultrasonic sensors, the car drives into the parking space or the garage, stopping immediately if it detects an obstacle. Upon reaching its final position, it shuts off the engine, deactivates the ignition and locks the doors. Finally, it sends a confirmation to the driver.
Another future configuration would allow Audi vehicles to autonomously pull into and back out of parking spaces in multi-level parking facilities and underground parking lots. The driver could simply get out of the car at the entrance and retrieve it there later – the car will handle the rest by itself. The parking facility’s central computer would monitor the vehicle’s movements by radar and guide it via WLAN to the nearest available parking space. For its part, the Audi would monitor its surroundings by means of 12 ultrasonic sensors and four video cameras.
The Audi exhibits at CeBIT
As the world’s largest and most important IT trade fair, CeBIT is an attractive platform for showcasing innovations. Audi will use its trade-fair stand in Hanover to present its Audi connect strategy and all the technology behind it. Exhibits and Audi vehicles will enhance this message. One CeBIT highlight will be the new Audi A3: a sporty three-door car which embodies the brand’s technological expertise on the streets.
The model of the new Audi A3′s interior boasts innovative series-production solutions such as a rotary pushbutton with integrated MMI touch, as well as the modular infotainment platform featuring a new Nvidia processor. Audi will use the A7 Sportback to demonstrate opportunities for data transfer made possible by LTE, the next-generation mobile communications standard. Other exhibits will introduce futuristic solutions for mobile IT applications. Moreover, the brand will present the Audi Urban Future Initiative at CeBIT.
The Audi A3
The Audi A3 is the brand’s new, premium compact car. This sporty three-door car transports to the road the brand’s synergetic expertise concerning ultra lightweight design, drivetrains, infotainment, chassis configurations and assistance systems.
At 4.24 meters (13.91 ft) in length, its progressive design allows the A3 to exude a powerful identity. Its wheelbase has grown to 2.60 meters (8.53 ft); the bold C pillar slopes like that of a coupe. The large single-frame radiator grille dominates the front. Audi optionally offers headlights featuring xenon plus technology with LED daytime running lights; in this case, the taillights likewise contain light-emitting diodes.
Audi’s unwavering commitment to the ultra lightweight principle ensured that the basic version of the new A3 weighs just 1,175 kilograms (2,590.43 lb) – a full
80 kilograms (176.37 lb) lighter than its predecessor and far better than the competition. Its body integrates a high percentage of ultra-high-strength steels; the front fenders and the engine hood are made of aluminum. And the vehicle’s drag coefficient of just 0.29 also contributes to the trailblazing efficiency.
The interior of the new Audi A3 impresses with its discreet styling, outstanding build quality and excellent ergonomics. At the front of the slender cockpit is a decor fascia, which can be illuminated if desired. Four round air vents, the air conditioner’s elegant control panel and the instrument cluster represent additional highlights.
The driver information system’s color screen (which is standard in the higher-value Ambition and Ambiente equipment lines) portrays images in high-resolution 3D.
The electrically telescoping MMI monitor – measuring 7 inches diagonally in the top-of-the-line version – is a mere 11 millimeters thick, reminiscent of an elegant smartphone. A new electromechanical handbrake creates room on the console atop the center tunnel for the terminal of the optional MMI operating system. On the full-fledged MMI navigation plus, the cap of its rotary pushbutton is rendered as a touchpad. The driver can write letters or numbers with their finger, as in the larger Audi model lines.
Audi has made the Attraction, Ambiente and Ambition equipment lines available for the new A3. They vary as regards exterior and interior details as well as the respective scope of options. The designers have created attractive colors and materials for all versions. Customers can choose from a number of convenient and sporty options including adaptive light, the convenience key and the panoramic glass roof.
Yet another engineering field in which the new Audi A3 underscores its prowess concerns the new high-performance driver-assistance systems. Technologies include adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist, Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition, the park assist system and the Audi pre sense basic safety system. No other automotive manufacturer offers a comparable portfolio.
As for infotainment, there is an entire set of components backed up by an innovative modular architecture. Components include a Bang & Olufsen sound system and MMI navigation plus. The latter is complemented perfectly by the Bluetooth online car phone with WLAN hotspot. It enables passengers to surf the Internet and e-mail while providing the driver with tailored Audi connect online services. 37 / 39 www.audi-mediaservices.com
The new Audi A3 is being launched with three four-cylinder engines, all of which have been fundamentally overhauled. The two TFSI units and the TDI engine, respectively, deliver 90 kW (122 hp), 132 kW (180 hp) and 110 kW (150 hp) of output from a displacement of 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0 liters. Compared with its predecessor model, the new A3 is considerably more fuel-efficient.
A seven-speed S tronic is standard with the 1.8 TFSI; the 1.4 TFSI and the
2.0 TDI are each paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Irrespective of configuration, the engine’s power flows to the front wheels. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, as well as more engines, will be added in coming months.
The chassis of the new A3 offers sporty driving pleasure paired with great comfort and superb stability. The power-steering system features an electromechanical drive for high efficiency. The electronic stabilization program (ESP), which integrates the electronic limited slip differential, makes handling even smoother and safer at the vehicle’s cornering limit.
The Audi drive select system (standard in the Ambition equipment line) allows the driver to modify settings for key components. This system also controls the optional adaptive dampers and uses Audi magnetic ride technology. The wheels range in size from 16 to 18 inches in diameter. The new Audi A3 will go on sale in June.
The Audi A7 Sportback
The five-door Audi A7 Sportback, 4.97 meters (16.31 ft) long, combines the elegance of a coupe with the comfort of a sedan and utility of an Avant. Its body consists of around 20 percent lightweight aluminum, which makes a crucial contribution towards its low base weight of 1,695 kilograms (3,736.84 lb). As an option, Audi can deliver headlights in progressive LED technology. The cargo space under the long trunk lid has a capacity of 535 liters (18.89 cu ft), and when the rear seatbacks are folded down it grows to 1,390 liters (49.09 cu ft).
The interior of the Audi A7 Sportback continues the taut sportiness of the exterior. Here, each and every detail documents the care with which Audi builds its cars. High-end materials appeal to the senses, and sophisticated ambient lighting is available upon request. A wealth of individual solutions is available in the Audi exclusive program. The front seats offer optional ventilation and massage functions, and the five-door coupe delivers impressive comfort and a smooth driving experience.
Audi offers the A7 Sportback with a choice of five V6 engines: two gasoline and three TDI units. They cover a power range from 150 kW (204 hp) to 230 kW (313 hp) and their efficiency is impressive. They transfer their power to either the front wheels or all four wheels via a variable multitronic, an S tronic with seven gears or an eight-speed tiptronic transmission.
The quattro drivetrain with torque vectoring works flexibly and dynamically; an optional sport differential actively distributes power between the rear wheels. The Audi A7 Sportback rides on wheels with 18 to 20 inch diameters, and their wheel control arms are made of aluminum. The electromechanical power steering system contributes to the vehicle’s excellent fuel economy. Dynamic steering, which adapts its steering gear ratio to vehicle speed, will follow shortly. Audi drive select is standard; it can be supplemented by an optional adaptive air suspension with damping control.
One of the most attractive optional features of the Audi A7 Sportback is its head-up display. The MMI touch system combines a hard-drive-based navigation system with the convenience of touchpad input. Audi’s entire line-up of assistance systems and Audi connect technologies are available as options in the A7 Sportback.
Audi Urban Future Initiative
The Audi Urban Future Initiative will also make its first-ever appearance at CeBIT by means of a dedicated exhibit in the Urban Solutions exhibitor area (Hall 11). For the first time in the history of the trade fair, the world’s growing megacities and challenges of urbanization will take center stage.
Audi has been committed to this field for quite some time. The Company created the Audi Urban Future Initiative two years ago to encourage analysis of the future of cities with an eye on matters of personal mobility. Ideas which emerge ought to be comprehensive in nature and address potential technical solutions as well as societal, environmental and aesthetic considerations.
The Audi Urban Future Initiative is an interdisciplinary forum which attracts architects, sociologists, city planners and trend researchers – which in itself constitutes a new and intelligent type of connectivity. With a focus on “Which energies and forces will change the city of the future?” as a central question, the first Audi Urban Future Summit was held prior to the 2011 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. Audi presented the Audi Urban Future Award in 2010 for the first time ever; it is Germany’s most lucrative architectural award (100,000 euros).
CeBIT visitors can experience the five international proposals submitted by architects’ offices in 2010.
This competition will be held in 2012 for the second time; this year’s theme is “Transitions.” The six participating architects’ offices have been asked to craft visions of urban mobility which are not only established in a local context but also applicable on a global scale. The competition requires that the architects’ offices create proposals for six metropolitan areas on four different continents. An international panel of judges will select the 2012 award recipient in Istanbul in October.
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