Audi’s participation at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show boiled down to three things: electrification, digitization, and piloted driving. On the surface, these three things sound like buzz words meant to generate hype. But, for the German automaker, these things are all important steps in pioneering a technological revolution in the industry.

Take for instance the future of Audi’s infotainment and connectivity systems. One of company’s most prominent exhibits at CES is a new interior model of an HMI concept that features large AMOLED displays with integrated haptic feedback. This new display is complemented by a new multimedia interface gesture controls and together, both serve as ideal tools for Audi’s new Modular Infotainment Platform, otherwise known as MIB2+. The new platform will be able to house a variety of new online services, including Audi MMI connect, a smartphone app that allows Audi owners to seamlessly integrate their cars to vehicle-specific remote services. One service that could find its way into Audi vehicles in the near future is what the company calls the first Car-to-X service that was also proudly exhibited at CES. This particular service allows owners to access items like “traffic light information online”, a service that helps connect cars to the central traffic computer that controls the traffic lights in a specific city.

In addition to its advancements and mobile connectivity, Audi also touched on the future of its dealerships by announcing the Audi VR experience. This particular program is meant to improve customer experience in dealerships by having a virtual reality headset on stand-by. These headsets are there to give customers a chance to experience their dream cars in a virtual setting, complete with all the configured bells and whistles of their chosen model. The days of having to check off the options menu will be eliminated from Audi’s dealerships. Everything a customer would want to see on their cars, be it accessories or options, can be viewed through this VR system.

Last but certainly not least is some big news related to the e-tron quattro concept study, a fully-electric sport SUV that may be launched in 2018. If the e-tron quattro concept study, it could include piloted driving functions, including functions for traffic jams and parking situations. Audi has even developed a central driver assistance controller it calls “zFAS”. This compact module receives information sent to it by a handful of sensors scattered throughout the car and uses the information to compare it with the current environment of the vehicle.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

How do you upstage an automaker that unveiled a lot of important technological advancements for the auto industry at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show? It’s hard, that much I can tell you. Audi really outdid itself, even by its own lofty standards. I mean, it’s one thing to focus a CES presentation on just one technological preview. It’s another thing entirely to drop a lot of them and then promise to have these applications out on the road in the near future.

I’ve always been a big fan of Audi’s aggressive approach in being one of the first to do something in the industry. By all accounts, we all saw that attitude at the CES. From the announcement of MIB2+, to the adoption of virtual reality into its dealerships, to the promise of piloted driving functions for the production version of the e-tron quattro, the German automaker swung for the fences and rounded the bases with the swag of a bonafide slugger. Everything it presented will have real-world applications, even though some of them - hello there, Matrix OLED technology and Matrix laser technology! - is still subject to government approval.

It even stepped into fields it doesn’t have a lot of experience in like health management to present Audi Fit Driver, a “supportive driving companion” whose mission is to help drivers become more relaxed when they step out of their cars than when they stepped into them. When a car company is looking into things like that, you know that it’s made good use of all those midnight oils in burned back in Ingolstadt.

Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept

2015 Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept here.

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