Audi connect is the keyword for how Audi links its cars to their surroundings. With the new S8, the main focus here is the connection of the car to the Internet. This is done using the standard Bluetooth online car phone and its UMTS module.
Specially prepared Audi connect services are delivered to the car via the fast UMTS connection, including the latest news, travel and weather information as well as points of interest from the Google online database. Drivers can plan their routes on their home computers, upload them to a special section of the Internet site www.audi.com and send them from there to their cars. The data are then are loaded into the MMI navigation plus automatically when the journey is started. The map image can be underlaid with aerial and satellite images from Google Earth at the push of a button for significantly easier orientation.
To use these and other services, drivers merely need to insert a data-capable SIM card into the card reader. Alternatively, drivers can connect their cell phone – if it is equipped with the SIM Access Profile – via Bluetooth to the system. No additional fees or separate contracts are required, but Audi does recommend an appropriate flat rate.
The Bluetooth online car phone is operated either by voice control, via the MMI navigation plus terminal or using the multifunction steering wheel. One or two separate handsets enable discreet telephoning, if desired. The encrypted signals are broadcast via the roof-mounted antenna. Another feature of Audi connect, the WLAN hotspot, enables passengers to connect up to eight mobile devices and surf the Internet without restriction.
The Bluetooth online car phone brings another top service from Audi connect on board the Audi S8: Audi online traffic information provides reliable, up-to-the-minute details on the current traffic situation. If a specified route is problem-free, it will appear in green on the monitor. Heavy traffic is yellow, slow-moving traffic is orange and traffic jams are red. In the latter case, this technology will explain the problem in words and calculate a sensible alternative route.
Because it takes rural routes and cities into consideration, the system is faster and more precise than conventional TMC and TMC Pro solutions. This service relies primarily on the many thousands of smartphones and navigation devices that report their current positions in short intervals to a service provider. The data are analyzed to provide a nuanced portrayal of traffic flows. Free for the first three years, the Audi traffic information system was launched recently in many European countries. Additional countries are to follow.
The range of Audi connect services is growing rapidly. The next stage will include the implementation of the Google POI search via voice control. The voice tag is sent to the Google servers as a data packet; the answers – highly differentiated in many cases – appear on the MMI monitor. Another service will be Google Street View, which enables the driver to view the destination in advance on the monitor from the perspective of a pedestrian.
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.