TECHNOLOGY

Innovations to go.

Innovations to go.

By: D. Momanaee, Ed Via, Jay Brida, JM Seeber, Meghan Puhr
Photos: Audi AG, Offset, Getty Images, Google Maps

We work tirelessly on developing and perfecting technologies that connect you to the road and where you want to go. Driving an Audi should give you the sense of freedom that only comes from a great road trip. These available innovations are engineered to make that happen.

Audi smartphone interface

Audi smartphone interface

While Apple® and Google™ continue to compete for mobile dominance, Internet ad revenue and a mass of other technologies, new arenas for friendly competition seem to open all the time. Take for example their new connected car offerings, both standard for the new 2017 Audi A4 and available on the 2017 Audi Q7 at launch: Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto™.

For Audi, these new technologies work with your smartphone’s screen and your vehicle’s MMI® display to help make your phone’s main functions and select apps easier to access. Users will be able to check their messages, play music and use their phones’ familiar navigation systems on their cars’ infotainment screens.1 According to IHS Automotive, it will take four years for these connected services to reach half of all new vehicle sales in North America. As vehicles and phones become more fully integrated, the driver will be more informed about the road ahead, while passengers can be entertained with streaming media and access to social networks, all on a larger screen with fewer distractions. That Audi will offer both is not surprising, given the continuous advancement of the MMI®, and it solidifies our forward-leaning position in the luxury segment. While these two applications vie for our devotion, healthy competition will lead to an even greater driving experience for everyone.

Audi LED lighting technology

Audi LED lighting technology

What reaches the eye, and how quickly? When it comes to light and sight, time is measured in nanoseconds. The split-second importance of light is why Audi is a leader in the field, from LED daytime running lights to full LED headlights, and Audi has a history of being one of the first in lighting technology. Our large investment in lighting technology took another step forward last year when we completed a new Lighting Assistance Center (LAC) in Ingolstadt. The building is 11 floors tall, but what’s underneath is more impressive: the longest light tunnel in Europe. It allows us to test potential technologies around the clock.

One of our advancements is the full LED taillight. It lasts longer and uses less power, two aspects that are improvements. But there is another aspect that is even more important—these taillights achieve full brightness in a few nanoseconds, close to ten times faster than incandescent bulbs. The nanoseconds add up. If a vehicle is traveling at 62 mph behind you, the driver will see the lights at full brightness 29.5 feet sooner, which might help avoid a collision.

What other possibilities is the Audi LAC working on that might soon reach your eyes? Technologies that flash a red stripe behind your vehicle if a car gets too close, headlights that shine as bright as daylight but simultaneously dim to account for oncoming cars and rearview mirrors ahead, and visual light graphics that let pedestrians know you are slowing so it is safe for them to cross the road, incorporating lasers into headlights—yes, lasers. It’s worth keeping an eye on future lighting technology this interesting.

Audi connect® online roadside assistance

Audi connect® online roadside assistance

Peace of mind is a difficult thing to quantify in a world where random events occur. And although we’d rather not think about it, situations happen on the road that are out of your control. But the next-generation Audi connect® offers available online roadside assistance to help give you the best care when faced with an accident or incident.

Audi online roadside assistance not only helps you handle the unthinkable with towing services but is also incredibly useful for more common episodes. Accidentally locked your keys in your car? Run out of fuel? This optional service can provide lockout remote service and emergency fuel delivery as well as battery jump-start and flat tire services.

If you need to use online roadside assistance, you can choose from various available options. For the first time (and currently available on the all-new Audi Q7 and Audi A4), you can push a specific online roadside assistance button in-vehicle to be connected with a service operator. You may also access the service via a toll-free number. And, in the case of a collision or other emergency situation, the optional SOS function automatically or manually triggers and will connect you to an operator immediately.

Although we hope you will never need to use this available service, Audi online roadside assistance is there for you and your loved ones, 24/7. It provides assurance in an unsure world and confidence on the road, knowing there is help on the way when you need it.

Audi drive select

Audi drive select

We are big believers that better communication can solve problems. The deployment of the right technology at the right time can prevent bigger issues. We are, of course, talking about how Audi technologies use data derived from the road in order to provide you with a better, more engaging and dynamic drive. With both available Audi magnetic ride in the Audi R8, S3 and TTS and the new Audi adaptive air suspension system in the Audi Q7, we use different kinds of systems through Audi drive select settings to help optimize your ride for your road conditions.

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With Audi magnetic ride, we use tiny magnetic particles in the damper fluid to continuously adjust its viscosity and the firmness of the dampers. This means that it takes a fraction of a second to adjust to the current driving situation and conditions within two suspension settings, Dynamic and Comfort.

This kind of feedback works through the Audi drive select modes so you can corner with the athleticism you want in Dynamic, while in typical driving conditions, magnetic ride operates in Comfort mode, which is geared towards a softer ride. You can change the Audi magnetic ride setting through the Audi drive select system.

But that’s not the only way we adapt to the road to give you a better relationship with it. Our Audi adaptive air suspension system offered on the all-new Audi Q7 uses an evolutionary approach to communication by adding a chassis control unit. It houses the software that controls both the suspension and damping control systems while it also monitors the vehicle acceleration and yaw rates. This allows the Auto mode to better conform to the current road conditions and enables the other suspension and damping combos that make up the Audi drive select modes. The adaptive air suspension system also has a self-leveling system and five different vehicle-height adjustments that can lower the rear axle 2.2 inches for easier loading or raise the entire vehicle 2.4 inches at speeds of up to 18.6 mph within Offroad/Lift mode.

Either way, we are listening to the road so our knowledge can help provide a better driving experience.

Audi virtual cockpit

Audi virtual cockpit

The U.S. may not have tarmac as scary as Bolivia’s infamous North Yungas Road—that single-lane, guardrail-free, 2,000-foot-dropoff stretch of winding dirt known locally as El Camino de la Muerte (“Death Road”)—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of great drives here that promise white-knuckle thrills and vertigo-inducing views. We took on one of these roads and used the available Audi virtual cockpit to help us stay ahead of the curve.

Some roads simply aren’t for the faint of heart. Independence Pass, 33 miles southeast of Aspen, Colorado, happens to be one of the most extreme examples. At its highest point, Highway 82 reaches a staggering 12,100 feet above sea level—that’s over two miles up into thin air—while offering enough challenges to put any driver to the test: steep drop-offs, hairpin curves and single-lane stretches that make you pray that there isn’t oncoming traffic. It’s the kind of drive where you never want to take your eyes off the road, which is why it’s the ideal place to test the virtually lag-free 60-frame-per-second Audi virtual cockpit.

A first-of-its-kind technology, the Audi virtual cockpit replaces traditional gauges with panoramic navigation along with a full range of driving information into its 1440x540-pixel 12.3-inch digital display. By placing pertinent driving data—including road information and turn-by-turn directions—in view directly in front of the driver, Audi virtual cockpit helps you focus on the drive ahead.

On Highway 82, the degree of difficulty in navigating this high-country terrain tempts drivers with a thrilling experience few roads in North America can match. The latest Audi technology and Google Street View™ can offer a preview while your car is stationary and before you begin maneuvering the hairiest of hairpin turns. After previewing your route, you can switch back to Classic mode from a traditional view of engine rpm and vehicle speed. The sight of the Twin Lakes and a 30 mph speed limit ease you toward I-24, and at the end of the road, you can exhale a little sigh of excitement, already nostalgic for the rush you just felt.

Audi traffic jam assist2

Audi traffic jam assist2

The tedium of the traffic jam is the scourge of commuters everywhere. We dread the stop-start of the morning traffic. It’s the kind of grind where you feel the tension tighten between your shoulders and neck as you plod the route to work. We wanted to engineer a way for you to unwind, so we created Audi traffic jam assist.

We designed the available Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go and traffic jam assist in the all-new Audi Q7 to use two radar sensors, four acoustic sensors and a video camera to guide the vehicle through gentle steering interventions. Following the cars in front within preset limits, it orients itself to lane markers and the cars around it. When the traffic gets close to 40 mph or the car detects a narrow curve ahead, the car prompts the driver to take over driving again. Traffic jam assist provides help to the driver by giving warnings in several stages. As a final measure, it can help bring the Audi Q7 to a safe stop.

In conjunction with Audi adaptive cruise control, the system helps keep you a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. In difficult situations, the system prompts the driver to apply the brake with visual and acoustic warnings as well as a braking jolt. Audi technology uses data from sensors, camera and computer to help make the necessary adjustments to acceleration, braking and steering.

So whether you are stuck on I-64 in Norfolk, I-95 in New Haven or your motionless 8:30 commute on the 10 in L.A., you can let your Audi traffic jam assist gently take some of the strain out of gridlock driving. If technology can’t make our lives a little bit less stressful, what good is it?

1Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted. Not all features available on all operating systems. Standard text and data usage rates apply. These features require compatible device, operating system, and mobile apps. See mobile device and app providers for terms and privacy. “Android Auto” is a trademark of Google, Inc. “Apple CarPlay” is a trademark of Apple, Inc.

2Image featured is a pictorial and not an exact representation of the trajectory of the camera and sensors.

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