Audi Joins The Avengers For Virtual Reality Adventure at CES 2019
As automakers continue to sharpen their technological prowess for autonomous convenience and the latest infotainment goodies, Audi is looking beyond, and has announced it will take steps towards the creation of something a bit unexpected - virtual reality in-car entertainment.
Audi’s Flying Taxi Takes Off Successfully
While some companies are investing their time and money in autonomous car taxis, Audi has gone one step ahead with flying taxis. Audi, Airbus, and Italdesign have teamed up to present a flying and driving prototype of ’Pop.Up Next’ at the Drone Week in Amsterdam. Pop.Up Next is a basically a flying taxi that combines a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone. Sounds funky, right?
10 Best Vehicle and Technology Innovations of 2018
The Virtual Mirrors on the Audi E-Tron are Futuristically Cool
The Audi E-Tron may be the first Audi to feature all-electric capabilities, but it’s also the first production Audi model to feature cameras in place of traditional side mirrors. The technology is called the Audi Virtual Mirror, and it is obnoxiously cool. The setup involves a pair of small cameras sitting in the place where the mirrors should be. The camera then feed visual signal to two small touch-screen display units near the door handles, both of which can be configured in a variety of ways.
Not only are the optics of it cool, it also represents a new way of using cameras on vehicles that have largely been disallowed among road cars for various reasons. More importantly, the aerodynamic benefits of using virtual mirrors will also help Audi improve the E-Tron’s coefficient of drag, in large part because the size of these cameras will allow Audi to design thinner casings to store them in. The days of large clunky casings appear to be over in what can only be described as a classic case of reinventing the wheel to accommodate the rise of modern technology. The Audi Virtual Mirrors look awesome and if it ends up on the production version of the E-Tron, expect it to find its way into other future Audi models sooner than later.
Unfortunately, the arrest of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler scuttled plans to have the electric crossover debut at the Audi Summit in Brussels, Belgium on August 30. Hopefully, the delay doesn’t take too long because we can’t wait to see the Virtual Mirror in action on an actual production model.
Audi Introduces Amazon Music Services On All 2017 and 2018 Models
In what can be considered an early Christmas present from Audi, owners of 2017 and 2018 model year Audis will now have access to Amazon’s music services, including Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Prime Music. The two services are now embedded into the infotainment systems of these models, as well as in the Audi MMI Connect smartphone app.
Audi Introduces Exoskeleton Suit in its Production Facilities
It’s not exactly on the level of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits, but Audi’s new wearable exoskeleton could be a preview of what the future looks like for the company’s factory employees. The exoskeleton weighs just 6.6 pounds, and employees can wear them by simply pulling it over their bodies in the same way they do a piece of clothing. According to Audi, the device connects to the hips and covers certain sections of the upper body and the thighs. When worn, employees are said to experience 20 to 30 percent less back strain.
Like Lots of Tech? You Need the Audi A7 in your Life
The Audi A7 recently made its debut, and it should come as no surprise that it took a lot of DNA from it’s bigger brother, the Audi A8. A lot of this DNA includes an insane amount of technology that shows just how far we’ve come in this department over the last 20 years. Digital Displays in cars were once practically non-existent, and those that did have them didn’t have anything anywhere near as cool as we have today. With that in mind, the Audi A7 (and the A8 for that matter) really push things to the limit with technology, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.
First off, let me point out that you’re going to have to pay up if you want the goods, but in the end, it’s really worth it if you’re into this kind of stuff. You want to hit up the checkbox for the MMI Navigation Plus system that gives you the Audi Digital Cockpit, and the MMI navigation. I mean, the graphics are beautiful, the infotainment screen is almost too gorgeous to allow in a car (talk about distracted driving,) and the way that ten-inch display in the center stack blends in so nicely with the glass panel around it, the whole package just comes together nice and clean. The best part is that the system works like a smartphone in that you can use the upper screen to control most infotainment system functions, meaning there is no more control knob. And, the lower screen is used to control various creature comforts – that means there are far fewer buttons inside the vehicle.
There’s a lot what you find in the infotainment system, though. We’re talking about as many as 39 driver assistance features (these are available via three different packages, so they don’t come cheap,) and there’s the option for voice control as well. And, when you use this voice control, the system accesses data stored locally with the vehicle and in the Audi cloud. A head-up display can be had for some extra moolah and, sometime in 2018, Audi will activate the garage and parking pilot systems which should park your car for you. And, to bring the whole technology package together, the A7 is a mild hybrid as well, which means it can freewheel at certain speeds with the engine off, only starting when needed. A front-facing camera is also used to help improve start\stop functionality.
Now, obviously, a lot of this technology is just really over the top. The mild hybrid technology doesn’t even save you a whole liter per 100km driven, and until the A7 can locate a parking spot and park itself, the parking and garage assistant just seem to be in place for people who like the showoff or are simply too lazy to park themselves. Be that as it may, the A7 is very technological and, if you’re into technology, it’s certainly something you want to look into. This is what the future of all cars looks like – few buttons, more touch displays, more hybrid technology – but it still comes at a cost. What do you guys think of the new A7’s technology? Let us know in the comments section below
Audi Launches The First Vehicle-To-Infrastructure Technology In The U.S.
To keep them rolling down the road, autonomous cars need all kinds of technology to work together seamlessly. Radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras, GPS navigation… all are essential to operation. And if you’re truly expecting to step into a sci-fi future filled with robo cars, go ahead and add vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) tech to the list. V2I is important because it provides insight into the kinds of stuff onboard sensors might not be able to pick up or handle, such as road conditions a mile ahead, heavy traffic management, and toll collection. But before the whole world goes fully autonomous, V2I still has huge potential to improve our daily motoring lives right now, and it looks like Audi is moving forward with the latest innovations for the modern consumer.
Recently unveiled in Las Vegas, Audi has introduced a new V2I feature that uses an onboard 4G LTE connection to interface with the city’s traffic management system and monitor real-time traffic light info.
Dubbed the “time-to-green” feature, the feature works like this – when a V2I-equipped car is stopped at a “connected” traffic light, the driver will be able to see a countdown of the time until the light turns green in the driver instrument cluster, or, if so equipped, the heads-up display. According to Audi, this info will “reduce stress and [allow] the driver to relax knowing approximately how much time remains before the changing of the light.”
Usually, I do the same thing by watching for the change to yellow in perpendicular lights, but granted, it’s not a foolproof system. Something that’s actually digitally connected to the lights would probably be a bit more accurate.
Anyway, Audi says “time-to-green” is the first feature of the Audi Traffic Light Information service V2I technology, with possible future uses including engine start/stop integration, navigation optimization, and “a speed recommendation designed to maximize the number of green lights one can make in a sequence.”
Traffic Light Information is a feature of Audi connect Prime, and will be incorporated in certain 2017 Audi A4, Q7, and allroad models produced after June 1, 2016. The service launches this month exclusively in Las Vegas, but it’s expected to see an expansion to other cities in the near future.
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Audi is Going to the Moon with the Audi Quattro Rover in 2017
Considering the Moon is our only natural satellite, and is relatively close to our home planet, it still seems a little odd that only a few people have ever set foot on that big ball of rock that smiles back at us on a clear night. To put things into perspective, the last time any human (that we know of) has stepped foot on the moon was back in 1972 when Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent just over three days there. Since then, we haven’t been back. As someone who has a heavy interest in other planets and the cosmos itself, I was pretty excited when Audi announced its lunar rover project last year. And, while it was an exciting idea, it didn’t seem like anything would ever come from it. But, all that has changed and Audi is set to send its Quattro Rover to the moon, and it looks like it will happen by the end of next year!
To fill you in on a little background, the Lunar Quattro tips the scales at just 66 pounds and uses a mix of lightweight materials and aluminum 3D printing. It was developed by Audi and a group called Part-Time Scientists. As any Audi fan would expect, its power source is derived from Audi’s E-Tron battery technology. Unfortunately, we don’t know any specifics as far as range, top speed, or anything of that nature, but it is fitted with a solar panel that covers a good majority of its upper surface, so the Lunar Quattro shouldn’t have a problem getting juice from our life-giving star. While the mission will help expand our knowledge of the moon and its terrain – and maybe even lead to future missions and an eventual colonization – there’s also a secondary motive behind this Rover.
See, Audi’s biggest motivation is probably the $30 million prize that it could very well claim from the Google Lunar XPRIZE program. The program promised the prize to the first privately funded rover to land on the moon, drive 500 meters, and send images back to our lovely planet. And, while the Moon isn’t exactly the harshest environment in our solar system, it will give Audi the unique opportunity to test some of its technology in much harsher conditions than those found here on Earth. To put that into perspective, the moon can hit as high as 253 degrees in the daylight, while the dark side of the moon can reach as low as negative 243 degrees. As you can imagine, the Quattro Rover has its work cut out for it with those kinds of temperatures.
But, before I go off on some rant about our solar system and get too far off topic, take a look at the video Audi released that shows off the Quattro Rover and explains why it is such an important mission.
Audi Forced to Drop Tech Projects in Aftermath of Dieselgate
It doesn’t matter which brand you’re talking about – the Dieselgate scandal has rocked every single branch of the Volkswagen family tree. The latest to take a hit is Audi, as a recent report from Reuters outlines a variety of projects sidelined by the beleaguered automaker in an attempt to cut back on spending.
Citing unnamed sources from within Audi, Reuters says the Four Ring brand is pausing development of a new test track for autonomous vehicle research, as well as stopping construction of new production facilities slated to build upcoming concept cars and batteries for electric vehicles. Audi is also halting projects for its Ingolstadt-based “IN-Campus” technology park.
To make matters worse, Audi’s work council is expressing displeasure with the automaker’s recent efforts to move production beyond German borders, including plans to build all-electric vehicles in Brussels, and plans to build the Q5 SUV in Mexico.
The cutbacks come amid Volkswagen’s ongoing efforts to repair its image, with forward-thinking innovations like autonomous vehicles and electric powertrains offered as evidence of the brand’s break from its old, emissions-cheating ways. However, with Audi now sidelining many of its top tech projects, it’s uncertain how long it’ll take for VW to get back in the public’s good graces.
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Audi Sport To Shape Audi’s Future Performance Lineup
Audi’s Quattro GmbH division is no more, at least on a “name” basis. It’s actually still around, except that it’s going by a new name: Audi Sport. The newly-minted sub-brand will cover the German automaker’s entire performance division, right down to the RS models, the R8 supercar, and all other motorsports projects that the German automaker wants to dip its toes into.
Speaking with Top Gear, Audi Sport head Stephan Reil gave a preview of sorts of what we can expect. While he didn’t dive into any specifics, Reil did touch on the possibilities that are now being considered as part of the Audi Sport umbrella. It certainly helped that Top Gear rattled off some leading questions, but Reil admitted a few pieces of information that’s worth pointing out.
One is the possibility of seeing stripped down RS models in the vein of the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S. That’s a possibility, although according to Reil, don’t expect it to happen in the early stages of a model’s life cycle. Still, the appeal of seeing the Audi TT Clubsport come to life is intriguing, to say the least.
Then there’s the subject of variants for the R8, Audi’s resident supercar. Again, Reil played the “wait-and-see” card, saying that no new R8 variants are expected to arrive until the R8 Spyder arrives in all of the automaker’s global markets. That could take a year or so, but once that time comes, there’s a good chance that we get to see the R8 family give birth to new members down the road.
Last and arguably most important is the subject of electrification, something that Audi has been developing in conjunction with parent company Volkswagen. According to Reil, EV versions of future RS models are going to happen in their own time, or when they start to make sense from business and technology points of view.
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5G Cellular Networks are Bringing Automotive Competitors Together
4G hotspots in cars haven’t really been around that long, but it has already had a major impact on our daily commutes. It allows all of the semi-autonomous cars out there to communicate, and it has become the basis for Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication that has helped to shape our future autonomous car network. Cars like the Tesla Model S can receive OTA updates, while kids can watch Netflix, and your creepy uncle can watch porn in the back seat during family road trips. In the grand scheme of things, we haven’t had 4G very long, but 5G mobile networks are on the horizon, and it’s a pretty big deal. Not only for those of us who are stuck to our cell phones 24/7, but for our cars as well. And that’s exactly why Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG, along with various tech companies, have formed the “5G Automotive Association.”
In partnership with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm, the aforementioned luxury automakers believe 5G networks will open the door for better support in C-V2X communications and connected mobility solutions. As such, these tech and automotive companies are looking to work together by defining and harmonizing use cases, technical requirements, and implementation strategies; supporting standardization and regulatory bodies, certification and approval processes; addressing vehicle-to-everything technology requirements, such as wireless connectivity, security, privacy, authentication, distributed cloud architectures and more; and running joint innovation and development projects leading to integrated solutions, interoperability testing, large-scale pilots and trial deployments.
Alfons Pfaller, the Head of Infotainment Development for Audi AG, said, "Connected cars will shape the future of individual mobility, and next generation mobile networks will take car to X connectivity to a new level. The key to success is in cross-industry collaboration. This is why we set up the 5G Automotive Association where experts from all relevant fields are teaming up." And Sajjad Khan, the Director of Digital Vehicle and Mobility for Daimler AG, said, "The connected car enables us to offer our customers services, both inside and outside the vehicle, which make their daily routine tasks easier, increase comfort and safety and thus create considerable added value. The fundamental basis for this is a reliable and fast connectivity technology whose standards have global validity."
So what does all this mean to you? Keep reading to find out.
Audi may be famous for being one of the world’s top premium brands, but like every automaker that’s worth its salt, the German brand is also known to dabble into products that are unrelated to its core industry. Such was the case when Audi launched a wireless charger for Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6s smartphones that takes the form of a phone case and works with Audi’s own Phone Box option for its vehicles.
The whole point of the wireless charger is at it’s described; it totally renders cords and cables irrelevant. Instead, Audi designed the case’s cover to be Qi-enabled, which essentially allows wireless charging through induction transfer by simply placing the device on top of a charging pad. In the case of Audi’s new Phone Box, owners of models with the standalone option simply need to place their phones in the center console for the charging process to begin. No cables or plug-ins on USB ports needed. The case also works on any base charging station that offers the same Qi functionality. That means that owners don’t need to be inside their Audis to be able to charge their phones.
On the aesthetic side, Audi opted to keep the case’s design as simple and straightforward as possible. It’s light, slim, and offers clear operations of the iPhone’s external features, including the speakers, sensors, ports, and camera lens and flash. Owners do have to remove the small Qi receiver clip on the bottom of the case to gain access to the lightning port in case they need to charge their phones using an external power bank.
The case is available in the UK at a price of £35, which would be around $45 based on current exchange rates. There’s no word yet on whether the case will hit U.S. shores.
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Audi Becomes the First Brand to Offer Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Connectivity Services
Audi likes to believe it is changing the world for the better, and it has now announced the latest development in its Audi Connect Prime services. This newest feature, which is being offered in conjunction with Traffic Technology Services, is called Traffic Light Information, and will apparently allow equipped Audi models to connect with the traffic light infrastructure in certain cities. The 2017 Audi Q7, Audi A4, and A4 Allroad will be the first models to get this new technology.
To put things simply, this technology will allow the car to receive real-time signal information from advanced traffic management systems across the United States. The link is created via the on-board LTE data connection and Traffic Technology Services’ company servers. For now, this feature will allow equipped vehicles to display the amount of time left before a traffic signal changes from red to green. It will be displayed in the driver information center and on the heads-up display if equipped.
Pom Malhotra, the General Manager of Connect Vehicles, said, “This feature represents Audi’s first step in vehicle-to-infrastructure integration. In the future, we could envision this technology integrated into vehicle navigation, start / stop functionality and can even be used to help improve traffic flow in municipalities. These improvements could lead to better overall efficiency and shorter commuting times.”
The city side of these services are set to roll out in fall of 2016 in select “smart cities” and metropolitan areas and new areas will be added “through 2017 and beyond.” Q7, A4, and A4 Allroad models built after June 1st will have the feature available when equipped with Audi Connect Prime services.
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Audi Unveils eROT technology
Car electrification isn’t something that is going to go away. In fact, it’s something automakers are striving to increase on a wide scale every day. See, we’re actually working against ourselves when you really think about it. As our technology evolves so does our demand for power, which is a serious problem when it comes to electrification of cars. To put it simply, the more electronics, the more power is used, and ultimately, the fewer all-electric miles we can travel with an electrified vehicle. So, we need to come up with new innovations and solutions to help store energy more efficiently and recuperate energy that is lost during braking and other scenarios. The latest company to come up with a breakthrough in energy recuperation is Audi with its “eROT” system.
eROT is basically an electrical suspension system that uses electric motors and electrical dampers (shocks) to absorb energy as our cars travel over bumps and holes in the road. With the traditional, hydraulic dampers used on cars today, the energy from bumps and potholes is converted to heat and dispersed by the metal housing of the damper itself. But, eROT, uses a combination of electric motors and a 48-volt electrical system to absorb the energy and turn it into electrical power.
Stephen Knirsch, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi AG, said, “With the new electromechanical damper system in the 48-volt electrical system, we put this energy to use. It also presents us and our customers with entirely new possibilities for adjusting the suspension.”
There are multiple benefits to the eROT system. First, the unique mounting of the system allows for more cargo room in the rear, plus the eROT system is actively controlled. This means it adapts to irregularities in the road as well as the driver’s specific driving style to supply the best ride possible. According to Audi, the average rate of recuperation during testing thus far comes in at an average of 100 to 150 watts. Freshly paved highway offers the least – around 3 watts – while rough secondary roads can increase recuperation up to as much as 613 watts. The system’s current configuration includes a 0.5-kilowatt hour lithium ion battery that has a peak output of 13 kilowatts. The energy is then passed through a DC Converter which drops the voltage down to be passed into the 12-volt primary electrical system.
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Audi’s A7 Piloted Driving Concept Making Steady Improvements
Audi’s push to develop its autonomous driving technology has gradually taken steps forward to the point that the company’s research car, the Audi A7 piloted driving concept, is now more refined in performing a variety of functions by itself. Nicknamed “Jack” for unspecified reasons, the A7 is said to be more “socially competent” than it ever has been in the past. In other words, the car is now able to navigate around its surrounding while remaining cognizant of other drivers in its area. This kind of consideration allows it adapt to a particular situation, much like what we normally do when we find ourselves in similar circumstances.
In its latest iteration, Jack has exhibited increased comfort and competence in navigating around road hazards, as well as timing his passes around large trucks, and his ability to make the appropriate turn signals. A huge part of Jack’s success can be attributed to what Audi calls the zFAS processor, which the automaker describes as the brains behind the outfit. This particular system comes with high-performance processors that works overdrive in real time to identify and evaluate Jack’s surroundings. As soon as the zFAS lays out the template of the land so to speak, it immediately plots and calculates moves that Jack would be doing, well in advance of the actual moves happening.
The pace by which Audi has developed the A7 piloted driving concept is proof at how serious this so-called race is among a lot of automakers in the industry. To its credit, the gains that have been made in the development of Jack hasn’t gone to Audi’s head. On the contrary, the German automaker continues to push forward and has even partnered with city of Ingolstadt to develop a test site that will test construction methods and technical solutions to plot out a system that can improve driving conditions throughout the country.
Test operations featuring some of Jack’s contemporaries are scheduled to begin in 2018. Similarly, a digital test site on the A9 autobahn has been opened to give automakers like Audi real-time road conditions to further develop and test the technology.
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Audi Launches All-New Quattro All-Wheel-Drive System With Ultra Technology
Just as every automaker seems to be up to their knees developing the latest in automotive technology, Audi has momentarily traded in its lab coat for a well-pressed suit to announce its latest technological masterpiece. The German automaker has introduced a new quattro all-wheel-drive system with ultra technology, aimed to make driving experiences more efficient without having to sacrifice the car’s performance and handling characteristics.
The German automaker accomplished this by installing a number of sensors throughout the drive system. Each of these sensors is responsible for monitoring a number of factors that determine the drive system in use at any point in the ride, be it front-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive. Road conditions, vehicle data, and driver behavior all play a part in this automated shifting of drive systems.
The system starts off in all-wheel-drive mode but when it detects that AWD isn’t particularly needed, the AWD system automatically deactivates and transitions into front-wheel-drive. The system then reverts back to all-wheel-drive when driving conditions call for it. According to Audi, that change can happen in a matter of milliseconds, enabling the car to quickly adapt to certain road conditions that forces a car to, for example, lose traction. More impressive is Audi’s claim that the system can analyse an assortment of data instantaneously before reverting back to AWD.
Essentially, this new quattro all-wheel-drive system provides the benefits of front-wheel-drive and its all-wheel counterpart. The company says that this new system can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 0.3 liters/100 kilometers compared to traditional drive systems.
Audi’s new A4 Allroad will get first dibs on this new quattro all-wheel-drive system with ultra technology, although it’s unclear if the company is going to offer this as a standard feature or as an added option. The A4 Allroad is expected to arrive in European markets later this summer with the US market not far behind at the tail end of 2016.
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