Published on May 26th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi Brings Their Collective Technology To CES Asia 2015
We attended the Audi keynote address in Shanghai and heard what Rupert Stadler, President, Chairman of the Board Management of AUDI AG had to say about the future of the Audi for new Audi owners. Key topics included piloted driving, new Audi connect solutions, new infotainment modules, operating and display concepts, and innovative developments in lighting technology. The biggest highlight was the Audi R8 e-tron piloted driving show car with a high-performance all-electric drive system.
Partnership with IT company Baidu
With Baidu CarLife, Audi will also be offering uncompromising integration of smartphones in its cars in China. Baidu CarLife is a smartphone integration for use in the automobile, similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. As soon as customers connect their smartphone to the car, the Audi smartphone interface starts up. On the MMI display, an environment opens with customized Baidu apps that are very popular in China, especially among young people. Baidu CarLife works with either iOS or Android.
LTE in China
An Asia-specific LTE module, which Audi is developing in a joint venture with Huawei, will deliver fast data transmission in the future. It is designed to conform to the two standards that exist in China, Japan and Korea: FDD-LTE (FDD = Frequency Division Duplexing) and TDD-LTE (Time Division Duplexing). Huawei brings its experience as a leading telecommunications equipment provider and its knowledge of the market to the partnership. This will enable Audi to be the first premium automaker to offer a fully integrated LTE solution in China.
Vision: piloted driving
In just two years, Audi will be introducing piloted driving to production. In certain situations, it will take over driving responsibilities if the driver wishes. The central driver assistance control unit (zFAS) makes a crucial contribution to the lead that Audi has in this technology field – it processes information from sensors to generate a detailed picture of the vehicle’s environment. In piloted driving, Audi has been performing pioneering work for years now. Its developers’ work has been crowned by spectacular public demonstrations of the technology.
The Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept – nicknamed Bobby – is the world’s sportiest piloted car. Back in October 2014, it completed a circuit of the Grand Prix racetrack at Hockenheim without a driver, hitting top speeds of 240 km/h (149.1 mph). In early 2015, the Audi A7 piloted driving concept drove from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas, equipped with numerous production and near-production solutions. At CES Asia, journalists will also be able to experience piloted driving – this time in the dense traffic of the mega-metropolis Shanghai.
Long view: Lighting innovations at Audi
Audi has been the leader in automotive lighting technology for many years. Matrix LED headlights – which are pioneering innovations are already installed in some model series; they illuminate the road intelligently and flexibly together with dynamic turn signals. The laser spot for the high beam is a global innovation that Audi offers exclusively in its new R8 high-performance sports car. It doubles lighting range compared to an LED high-beam headlight. As a next step, the brand is presenting Audi Matrix laser technology – it produces a laser light that offers high resolution and fine lighting control for illuminating the road.
Attractive and intuitive: operation and display
At CES Asia, Audi is showing the latest stage of operation and display in the new TT model series and in the new Q7. One highlight is the Audi virtual cockpit. The fully digital instrument cluster with its 12.3-inch TFT monitor presents all information as brilliant, intricately rendered 3D graphics. In addition, the Audi virtual cockpit offers a choice between different views: the infotainment mode and the classic view. It utilizes the power of the Tegra 30 graphic chip from Audi partner Nvidia.
The new Audi Q7, R8 and TT models use a redesigned MMI system that follows an entirely new operating logic. It is based on a concept used in modern smartphones – flat hierarchies instead of complex menu trees. One way to control the numerous functions is by voice control, which can also process expressions from everyday speech usage, and a touchpad for inputing characters and multi-finger gestures. In the Audi TT, there is a rotary/push-button control, and in the Q7 a separate surface is provided: MMI all-in-touch. The system provides tactile feedback after each input.
All-round networking: Audi connect
Audi connect consists of all applications and developments that connect an Audi with the driver, infrastructure and other vehicles as well as the internet. Audi is also continually expanding its lead in this technological field. The Audi connect module connects the car to the internet via LTE – which is currently the fastest transmission standard. For the Chinese market, Audi is partnering with Huawei to develop a market-specific LTE module. Passengers have access to a Wi-Fi hotspot, to which they can connect their mobile devices. For the driver, online services from Audi connect that are tailored for the Chinese market are making their debut in the car.
Powered by Nvidia: infotainment
Audi is also presenting appealing infotainment features at CES Asia. The Audi phone box is used to conveniently couple the smartphone – it can charge a cell phone inductively according to the Qi standard. Also new is 3D sound in the Audi Q7. Here, the premium sound systems by Bose and Bang & Olufsen incorporate additional speakers that unlock the spatial dimension of verticality.
In the infotainment area in particular, Audi is setting new standards with its modular infotainment platform (MIB) and its technology network. The brand with the four rings is taking a modular electronic architecture approach to get closer to the short product cycle times of consumer electronics. The second generation MIB is already being used in the new TT line-up, in the Audi R8 and Audi Q7, as well as in the revised A6 and A7 Sportback models. Here too, the Nvidia processor plays a key role. The T30 is a quad-core chip which works together with a 3D graphics program by specialist Rightware to enable brilliant graphics on two displays simultaneously.
The Audi tablet, which is celebrating its debut in the new Q7, also operates with an Nvidia chip, the Tegra 40. With its 10.1-inch display, the Audi tablet serves as a highly flexible mobile rear seat entertainment and in-car entertainment system. It connects to MMI navigation plus via Wi-Fi and can also be used outside of the vehicle. In the software package for China, the new Audi joint venture partner Baidu is represented with its web browser and an app store. Another highlight is the new type of gesture control for the Audi tablet – in the future it will let passengers sit back comfortably while operating the device. Joy of use is the primary objective of its conceptual design.
Drive system of the future: electric mobility
Audi is intensively advancing the electrification of the drivetrain under the e-tron banner. Its many aspects include charging of the e-tron models, which are powered either all-electrically or part-electrically. In this area, Audi is working intensively on inductive charging, also known as Audi Wireless Charging (AWC). The drivetrain matrix that the brand with the four rings has developed offers many different options to provide each customer with a tailor-made solution. Approaches range from the 48-volt electrical subsystem to the plug-in hybrid drive and the all-electric car.
Audi entered the market for plug-in hybrid technology with the sales launch of the A3 Sportback e-tron* in 2014. It combined a combustion engine with an electric motor whose battery is charged via the electrical grid. For Chinese customers, the Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro* will arrive shortly at dealers. In the future, Audi is planning to launch one new e-tron model on the market every year. At the same time, the brand is working intensively on production cars that are powered exclusively by electricity.
Look into the future: the Audi R8 e-tron piloted driving technology platform Audi has further developed its high-performance R8 e-tron* substantially. The all-electrically powered technology study, which the company is showing at CES Asia, combines a wide variety of future technologies – new solutions in lightweight design, ideas for piloted driving and a powerful drive system. With 340 kW (313 hp) and 920 Nm (678.6 lb-ft) of torque, the show car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.9 seconds. It has a driving range of 450 km (279.6 mi) on one battery charge.