Audi connect – The car in the cloud
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Apps for customers
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 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.”
Audi’s modular back-end platform
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
A new computing center will become operational in just a few months. Encompassing two underground levels of the recently constructed SE Forum
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
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
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.
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
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
The LTE mobile communications standard
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
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.
Intermodal route planner
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
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.
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
User controls and display in the new Audi A3
Audi and Nvidia
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 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
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
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
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
Audi Phone Box
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
The head-up display of tomorrow
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.
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.
Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go function
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 adaptive restraint system
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.
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
Traffic jam assistant
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Audi A3
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
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.
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
A seven-speed S tronic is standard with the 1.8 TFSI; the 1.4 TFSI and the
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 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 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.