Audi highlights connected car concept at CeBIT
The company is highlighting its next-generation Audi A3.Its distinctive feature is an innovative infotainment platform, the first one in Audi's modular system. “Digitalization is not only accelerating change in society but also transforming mobility,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG. 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.”
In contrast to many other manufacturers, Audi positions itself not just a customer of IT companies. On the contrary, the company has developed its own spectrum of expertise. In partnerships such as e.solutions GmbH, a joint venture with software vendor Elektrobit, the company acquires and intensifies IT competencies. With regard to semiconductor technology, Audi is similarly pursuing an integrated strategy.
Audi connect aims at satisfying the demand to use IT services when driving by linking the vehicle with the Internet, the infrastructure and with other vehicles. The Audi connect approach puts the Internet into cars but also puts the car online and, in line with today's IT landscape, into cloud computing. Cars will be a part of Web 3.0, the intelligent Internet, which will interconnect everyday objects to make them smarter.
Audi drivers with a Bluetooth smartphone can connect to the Internet via a UMTS module, and soon via LTE. According to Audi's vision, the latter can also play an important role in future car-to-x communication, a technology which networks cars with each other and the transportation infrastructure to make driving safer.
Audi connect provides drivers with customized services ranging from nline traffic information to 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. The company announced to 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 relevant with regard to future e-tron vehicles with electric drive units.
To be connected constantly must in no way distract drivers, however. Towards this end, Audi said it is working on innovative control and display concepts. The new A3 shown at CeBIT is equipped with a range of such control innovations, including a touchpad much like most users know from their laptops, and a universal interface between cars and cell phones, named Audi Phone Box,.
At the same time, the new A3 is equipped with a new modular infotainment platform. Its architecture makes it possible to update hardware to ensure it is always cutting-edge. A key component is a graphics processor from Nvidia, powering the vehicle's center display. The carmaker has signed a strategic partnership contract with the graphics chip vendor which gives him access to the latest chip designs. Future generations of dashboard and center displays thus can be expected to be increasingly graphics intensive.
In order to fathom future ways and technologies of mobility as well as urban developments in general, Audi also created a research initiative, the Audi Urban Future Initiative (AUFI). At CeBIT, the company shows a dedicated AUFI exhibit. It showcases the five international proposals by the architects' offices which participated in the first Audi Urban Future Award.
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