Control and display concepts
Audi repeatedly sets new standards with its control and display concepts. The latest highlights are the Audi virtual cockpit and the new MMI control concept – available in the Audi TT, R8, Q2, Q7, A3, A4 and A5 model series.
Audi virtual cockpitThe Audi virtual cockpit comprises a TFT display with a 12.3-inch diagonal and a resolution of 1440 x 540 pixels. It displays exceptionally sharp and highly detailed graphics. Working in the background for the cockpit is a high-performance Tegra 30 processor supplied by Audi’s partner NVIDIA. The fully digital display enables a wide range of information to be presented clearly and directly in the driver’s field of view. This includes the classic values for speed and rpm, but also navigation, communication and entertainment information.
The driver can switch between two views by pressing a button on the steering wheel. In Infotainment mode, a central window dominates the view. It offers plenty of room for the navigation map or for lists in the Phone, Radio and Media areas. The tachometer and speedometer are displayed as small dial instruments on the right and left. In a second, classic view, they appear about as large as analog instruments, and the middle window is smaller. For the S and RS models as well as for the Audi R8, there is a third screen with a dynamic emphasis. It is dominated by the tachometer and provides additional technical information. The driver operates the
Audi virtual cockpit from the multifunction steering wheel. Using switches on the left spoke, the driver pages through the menus for the on-board computer, audio system, and – depending on the installed features – the phone and navigation system. Located on the right side of the steering wheel are the volume roller, the voice control button, telephone express controls and the skip function for quickly changing the radio station or song.
In keeping with MMI logic, Audi modifies the color scheme of the display according to the base menu being used – orange for the Media menu and green for the Phone menu, for instance. At the lower edge are permanent displays of outside temperature, time of day and odometer readings as well as warning and information symbols.
MMI control concept
The latest generation of the MMI control concept makes it very easy for users to control the many different functions in the new Audi models. The controls follow a flat hierarchy designed for a minimum of steps. The MMI terminals are configured differently depending on the model; Audi uses the top model in the new Q7.
In the Audi Q7, the newly developed MMI all-in-touch terminal on the center tunnel console is the control center. The driver can enter characters on the large touchpad or perform multi-finger gestures to zoom in on the map, for example. Each input is confirmed by acoustic and tactile feedback – with a click that is also felt on the finger. This lets the driver stay focused on the road.
In Asian markets, the system also recognizes the highly complex characters of the national languages. It can understand more than 29,000 Chinese characters (Hanzi), roughly 7,300 Korean and 6,700 Japanese characters. The MMI also understands the phonetic Romanizations commonly used in these countries. These types of alphabets include Chinese Pinyin, Hangul in Korea and Hiragana, Kanji and Katakana in Japan.
All MMI system functions can be accessed using the high-precision rotary pushbutton that works according to the joystick principle. It can be pushed in four directions to access the menu structure and quick access functions. Two rocker switches call up the main functions directly. In the Audi Q7, A5 and A4, there are also eight freely programmable buttons that the driver can use to store personal favorites, such as navigation destinations, telephone numbers or radio stations.
Audi has set another benchmark with the innovative MMI search function, which is the central starting point of the new control concept. It makes it easier to find music tracks and input phone contacts and navigation destinations. MMI search uses intelligent search algorithms significantly reduce the number of operating steps. The driver or passengers can enter individual letters by “writing” them directly on the touchpad with their finger. The first results appear after just a few letters. Here, the system considers the car’s current location and recent activities such as phone calls or destinations. When searching for a place to eat, for instance, the driver only has to enter the name of the restaurant and the first letters of the city and a list with hits appears.
The driver can use two supplemental menus to select relevant functions of each main group according to the context, which are then intelligently linked. In Radio mode, for instance, the driver can select the frequency band in the function menu, and traffic information can be called up from the Map menu. With these context-dependent options and settings, the driver can get directions to a specified destination, display nearby parking or save a destination to the Favorites list.
Control by natural language
One highlight is the newly developed, user-friendly and intuitive voice control system. The driver no longer has to be constrained to the use of rigidly defined voice commands – in many languages the system understands formulations from everyday speech. So, hundreds of variants are possible for each function. In the Phone menu, for example, the driver can call a contact just by saying “I want to talk to Peter Miller.” or “Connect me with Peter Miller.” In Navigation, commands such as “Where can I refuel?” or “Take me to Ingolstadt, Ettinger Strasse 35.” are sufficient. The intuitive voice control system is also available in the Radio and Media menus.
Advancements in infotainment pose new challenges for carmakers. It must be possible to use an increasing number of functions intuitively, simply and without diverting attention from the road. Audi is meeting these challenges with groundbreaking technologies.
The MIB2 (second-generation Modular Infotainment Platform) is the foundation for infotainment in all Audi production models. It uses an NVIDIA T 30 processor, a quad-core chip from the Tegra 3 series. With a clock speed of over 1 GHz and a fast graphics card, it can drive two displays. The Tegra 30 processor works together with a 3D graphics program from the specialist company Rightware to display spectacular three-dimensional images.
Personal route assist
Self-learning personal route assist is currently available in the new Audi Q7, the A4 and the A5. When this function is active, the navigation systems learns which routes the customer frequently takes to which destinations and links this information with the parking location and the time of day. The system thus learns from the driver’s behavior and on this basis makes suggestions for optimized route planning for the next trip – even if route guidance is inactive. The navigation system builds the three most likely destinations into the calculation, taking account of both the arrival time and current traffic levels. It is therefore possible to suggest that the customer activate the navigation system to learn of potential alternate routes.
Audi phone box with wireless charging
The Audi phone box in the center armrest wirelessly connects a cell phone to the car’s antenna by near-field coupling to ensure optimal reception quality. With wireless charging based on the Qi standard, the current flows inductively from a coil in the base of the box to a receiver coil in the smartphone.
Audi smartphone interface
The Audi smartphone interface brings Apple Car Play and Android Auto into the car. When a customer connects an iOS or Android cell phone (iOS 7.1 or higher, Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher) to the USB port, smartphone content such as navigation, telephone, music and selected third-party apps are made available. They can be conveniently operated by MMI or voice control. Audi has designed both applications especially for use in the car. The core content here is online music with access to an enormous range of music from Google Play Music and iTunes. There are also navigation and notification functions as well as schedule reminders. Third-party apps like Pandora, Spotify and WhatsApp will further expand the range of functions.
Sound systems with 3D sound
Sophisticated hi-fi fans have the choice of two optional systems from Bose and Bang & Olufsen in the Audi Q7, A4 and A5. Both offer the new 3D sound. Two (Bose) or four (Bang & Olufsen) additional speakers in the A-pillars add the spatial dimension of height. The 3D technology creates an unprecedented sound experience in the car. An intelligent program calculates information for the third dimension from conventional stereo or 5.1 recordings and prepares it for the speakers in the A-pillars. While Bose uses its own algorithms (Bose Advanced Staging Technology), the Bang & Olufsen system employs a procedure developed by Audi together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) in Erlangen.
The heart of the Bose 3D sound system is a 558 watt 15-channel amplifier. It drives 19 speakers, some of which have LED light guides in their surrounds.
The Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 3D sound integrates up to 23 speakers. A subwoofer, 25 cm (9.8 in) in diameter, generates the bass, while two acoustic lenses made of solid aluminum create the treble tones. They extend from the instrument panel when the system is started. The particularly efficient amplifier provides 1,920 watts of power.
The Audi tablet with its high-resolution 10.1-inch screen is a flexible Rear Seat Entertainment system. The tablet is currently available in the new A4 and Q7 models. Connected to MMI navigation plus via Wi-Fi, it affords access to the Radio, Media, Navigation and Car menus. The data transfer runs in both directions – rear passengers might send a planned route to the driver, for instance or, conversely, the driver could start a radio or media program for them from MMI navigation plus. The sound is output either over the vehicle sound system or through the passengers’ headphones.
The Audi tablet, which uses the Android operating system including its available apps, supports NFC technology (NFC = Near Field Communication) for transmitting data from the smartphone by proximity. It has 32 gigabytes of internal memory and can be expanded by a microSD card for additional memory. The technical core is the Tegra 4 processor from NVIDIA. The integrated full HD camera can be used to make a video call with Skype.
After the trip, the user can take the Audi tablet from the car for operation offline or on an external Wi-Fi network. The Audi tablet’s anodized frame is milled from solid aluminum. Together with its rechargeable battery, it is logically designed for use in the car. It can also handle high or very low temperatures without problems; the tilt-adjustable bracket on the back of the front seat is collision-proof and removable if required.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.