The keyword Audi connect refers to the networking of Audi cars with their surroundings. Among the high-end options available in the updated A4 family is the Bluetooth online car phone that uses a UMTS module to connect to the Internet.
The UMTS module integrated into the MMI navigation plus system offers a number of attractive services. It delivers specially prepared, easy-to-read news, travel and weather information plus points of interest from Google to the vehicle. Drivers can plan their routes on their home computers, upload them to a special section of the Internet site www.audi.com and download them from there to the car upon starting the trip. The map can also be underlaid with aerial and satellite images from Google Earth for an extremely attractive look, if desired.
Another feature of the system, the WLAN hotspot, enables passengers to connect up to eight mobile devices – from iPhones to laptops – to the Bluetooth online car phone so that they can surf the Web and send e-mails. Audi offers an optional handset for discreet phone calls.
The Bluetooth online car phone is operated either via the MMI navigation plus terminal, using the multifunction steering wheel or by voice control. Signals are encrypted according to the WPA2 standard and broadcast via the roof-mounted antenna. If the A4 is traveling outside the UMTS network, the system switches to the EDGE standard.
To go online, drivers merely need to insert a data-capable SIM card into the card reader to go online. Alternatively, they can connect their cell phone to the system via Bluetooth if it is equipped with the necessary SIM Access Profile. No additional fees or separate contracts are required. Given the high data volumes, however, Audi does recommend an appropriate flat rate.
Quality information: Audi online traffic information
The Bluetooth online car phone brings another high-end service on board the Audi A4 – Audi online traffic information. The service displays traffic flow data on the navigation map. If the route chosen by the driver is free, it appears in green on the monitor. Yellow indicates dense traffic, orange represents slow-moving traffic and red denotes standing traffic. In this case, Audi online traffic information reports the hold-up in a text and suggests an alternate route that does not lead directly to the next traffic jam.
Because it takes rural routes and cities into consideration, the system is faster, more precise and more intelligent than conventional TMC and TMC Pro solutions. It gets its data primarily from the hundreds of thousands of smartphones and navigation devices being carried in cars and reporting their current positions in short intervals through the mobile phone network to a service provider. The data are analyzed to provide a nuanced portrayal of traffic flows.
Audi online traffic information recently debuted in Central Europe, France, the UK and Italy; additional countries will soon follow.
Another new connect service offered through the Bluetooth online car phone is the Google POI search, which in this case is voice-controlled. The driver need merely select a destination city and say the desired key term or phrase – such as “Italian restaurant.” The voice command, or “voice tag,” is converted into a data packet and sent to the Google search engine. The responses appearing on the onboard monitor are highly differentiated – they frequently contain the phone numbers of the restaurants and various additional information.
A third groundbreaking connect function is also available in the A4: Google Street View shows the selected destination as it appears from the car before you arrive, making it much easier to get your bearings when you do.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.