Electronics in the new Audi A4
Communication and comfort
The new A4 is a communication centre on four wheels. And its occupants can enjoy every convenience imaginable - from the standard air conditioning to hi-fi audio systems to automatic adjustment of the driver's seat and the mirrors when getting in.
This complex package is made possible by the consistent networking of the vehicle electronics in what are known as CAN bus systems. In this case, pulses are no longer transmitted via individual wiring harnesses, but along a single "data highway".
The Multi Communication Bar aerial system, which is integrated out of sight in the upper edge of the rear window, is a unique example of how electronic systems have been compressed: the receivers for radio diversity, TV, telephone and navigation system, and the standard radio remote control for the locking system are grouped here.
Two navigation systems are available as an optional extra for the new Audi A4: the basic version supplies its data by means of a spoken announcement and arrow diagrams in the instrument cluster's high-resolution colour display. The navigation system Plus additionally offers a swivel five-inch monitor in the centre console, which also projects the route in map mode.
Audi is also offering a unique telecommunications service for the Audi A4: by supplying carefully selected traffic information directly to the cockpit, Audi telematics helps drivers on Germany's roads to reach their destination quickly and without getting caught up in traffic congestion.
Audi telematics users benefit from a wide-ranging network of information sources. Around 4000 sensors monitor the traffic flow on German autobahns virtually nationwide. The traffic situation is then calculated electronically based on the sensor data; tailbacks and hold-ups are reported to the vehicle's terminal.
The advantage this information technique enjoys, especially over radio traffic services, can be expressed in plain figures. At the moment up to 83 percent of all traffic interruptions on autobahns can be detected quickly and reliably; this figure is around just 45 percent if conventional methods are used - air surveillance and people whose job it is to report traffic congestion, for example.
On average this service reports new tailbacks 25 minutes more quickly than the radio. The end of a tailback is also indicated more promptly - up to 30 minutes sooner - than by other suppliers. This means a decisive gain in time which can help drivers to avoid joining the back of a queue of traffic unnecessarily or making a long detour in vain.
In emergency situations Audi telematics makes sure that help is sent out to where it is needed as quickly as possible. In the event of a breakdown, a press of the button is all it takes to connect the driver by telematics telephone to the Audi service centre
And in an accident the system even places the emergency call fully automatically: the rescue services are alarmed when the airbag or belt pre-tensioners are activated. The emergency call can also be placed manually.
Telephone with voice activation (in conjunction with Audi telematics)
Making a telephone call - and entering the numbers when dialling - is known to be one of the most hazardous things to do while driving. Tests have shown that the driver often takes his eyes off the road for several seconds.
But not with the new Audi A4. The optional car telephone system comes with voice activation, which is extremely easy to operate. The driver just has to speak the number he wishes to dial in order to be connected. His hands can remain on the steering wheel and he can continue to concentrate fully on the road.