Most of us today aspire to be “always on” in everyday life, including in our cars. The Audi connect solutions are Audi’s response to this. Whether it is Facebook or Twitter, music streaming or an online update of the navigational map, Audi offers its customers a broad selection of cloud-based applications, all supported by ultrafast data transfer based on the LTE standard. A smartphone can be used in the familiar way. In addition, it can now open and lock the car via the Audi mobile key function.
Audi connect broadband Internet module
Audi ranks among the pioneers in the field of mobile networking. The brand began an intense cooperation with leading suppliers of hardware and software in 2005. Four years later, Audi connect in-car internet services became available. In 2010, Audi became the first manufacturer to introduce broadband internet access via an integrated UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) module throughout its model range. In 2013, the brand presented a fully integrated LTE (Long-Term Evolution) module.
Today, the Audi connect module with broadband internet access combined with a mobile WLAN hotspot is available in many Audi models, enhancing the brand’s top-of-the-line MMI Navigation Plus and marking a great step for Audi in terms of mobile high-speed internet. The integrated WLAN hotspot allows the car’s passengers to connect as many as eight personal mobile devices.
LTE – a wireless standard five times as fast
The fully integrated LTE module supports data rates of up to 100 Mbit/s downstream, 50 Mbit/s upstream, making for very short response times and permitting exchange of large amounts of data. Passengers in the new Audi A3 can run different applications at the same time on their mobile devices.
For example, one passenger might participate in a video conference while another watches a movie. The driver, too, benefits greatly from LTE technology, such as when using Audi connect services, among them navigation based on Google Earth and Google Street View, which load extremely quickly. Full integration of LTE will permit further expansion of the Audi connect offering, starting with cloud-based music and social media all the way to car-to-X services such as wireless payments and exchange of information with traffic lights.
Audi connect in the new Audi Q7
Audi will expand the connect portfolio further in the new Q7 to be launched this year. MMI Navigation plus will come with a pre-installed LTE module.
Briefly after market launch, the Audi Q7 will offer new services beyond the current Audi connect portfolio “Audi connect Emergency Calling & Service” will become available, offering emergency calling, online calls in case of a breakdown and online booking of Audi service appointments. The “Audi connect vehicle management” package includes vehicle status report, remote locking and unlocking, park position as well as remote operation of the optional auxiliary heater. “Audi connect Emergency Calling & Service” will be free of charge for 10 years.
On the launch of this new SUV, Audi will add another gem to its Audi connect portfolio as Apple Car Play and Google Android Auto become available via the Audi smartphone interface. Audi has been in contact with Apple since early 2013 and with Google since 2014 to ensure its customers benefit quickly and widely.
Connect an iOS or Android cellular phone is connected to the USB port (iOS from version 7.1; Android from version 5.0 Lollipop) and the respective environment will open in the Audi smartphone interface. Both are tailored for use in the car. A the core of this feature is online music. This opens up the gigantic offering of Google Play Music and iTunes to Audi drivers.
In addition, both platforms offer navigation functions, missed call/appointment reminders and messaging functions. Functions can be controlled via voice, the rotary pushbutton and via the multifunction keys on the steering wheel. In the future, numerous 3rd-party applications such as Pandora, Spotify and Whatsapp will complement the offering. Audi will be demonstrating the new Audi smartphone interface at 2015 CES in an S3* concept car and other technology exhibits.
Audi connect services
Audi connect brings many customized services into the car, such as online traffic information. These services provide real-time data on current traffic. If the route chosen by the driver has free-flowing traffic, it is shown in green; orange indicates dense or slow-moving traffic, and red signifies a traffic jam. In this case, the service identifies the problem and suggests an appropriate alternate route. The online traffic information service includes not only expressways, but also interurban roads and cities and covers most European countries.
The newest service, parking information, displays parking lots and parking garages at the current location, the destination or at any other location. Whenever possible, it also indicates the number of available spaces and parking fees. Drivers can select the parking location as a navigation destination for display as a Google Earth map section and in Google Street View on the onboard monitor.
The fuel price services will list discount gas stations, with some models taking into account the required fuel variety.
Flight and train information from Audi connect can be used to check departure times, track and gate numbers, and also obtain information on any delays. Users can enter an individual flight number into a direct search.
City Events is an Audi connect service which provides information on a multitude of events at the current location, a travel destination or a freely selectable location. Customers can filter according to various categories such as arts or sporting events. Online news and travel and weather information round off this offering.
In some models, Audi connect services can be used via a convenient read-aloud function, while the myAudi customer platform offers online customization to personal preferences.
Music – a wide selection ready to play
Audi music stream is the Audi connect web radio. With this app and UPNP (Universal Plug and Play) technology, the user can receive broadcasts from more than 3,000 Internet radio stations, save personal favorites to a cell phone and play them via the MMI navigation plus system. The app also provides access to the media library stored on the user’s smartphone.
Audi music stream comes both as an independent smartphone app and integrated into Audi MMI connect. This application is available for Audi’s A3*, TT*, A6*, A7 Sportback* and Q7 models and will offer additional services on the mobile device and in MMI Navigation plus via a WLAN connection. This will make services such as PPOI search, City Events or Picturebook Navigation even more versatile, enabling search results or photos to be sent directly to the car.
Another new option in the Audi MMI connect app is the new Online Media Streaming with access to the Napster music subscription service and Aupeo radio service. Audi customers can now use MMI Navigation plus to access almost 20 million music tracks and several thousand audio books in MP3 format. As with all Audi connect services, the user interface is fully integrated into the familiar operating environment.
Another service from Audi connect is Picturebook Navigation. Here, the driver can store pictures of destinations coupled with geo navigation (GPS) data in the MMI Navigation plus’ Picturebook. They can be personal photos as well as Google Street View motives. Images can be imported from an SD card or via a myAudi account. Photos can be searched via Cover Flow, while GPS data serve to turn them into navigation destinations.
Community – always connected
Audi connect also integrates Facebook and Twitter online community services in the infotainment system in vehicle-specific versions. In addition to the text-to-speech function, drivers can also use a text function to send predefined text modules, optionally combined with data such as the car’s current position. In models such as the Audi A3, A6 and A7 Sportback as well as the new Audi TT and the new Audi Q7, drivers can transfer e-mails from their smartphone to the car and have them read out aloud. Conversely, drivers can also dictate and send text messages (SMS). A server in the Cloud will convert the sound file into data packets.
Key Audi connect functions, including the point-of-interest (POI) search, can be controlled via voice commands,. Here, again, voice commands will be translated into a data packet and sent to the Google search engine. An innovation is the personal POI search (PPOI) enabling Audi customers to copy interesting destinations or current hazard locations from third-party databases to their myAudi account and from there to the car’s navigational map.
Audi mobile key for convenient vehicle access
Audi’s existing comfort key is a very convenient solution for access to the car and engine-starting privileges. The next logical step is the Audi mobile key, permitting vehicle access based on a smartphone. The data required for access will be stored in a safe place, either on the SIM card or in the smartphone’s Secure Element. Audi IT will securely manage all access events.
When the driver holds the smartphone to the door handle, information will be transferred to the car via near-field communication (NFC) broadly as it would be in a cashless payment system. Once inside the car, the driver can stow the phone and start the engine by pressing the start-stop button. Upon arrival at destination, the driver can lock the car using the smartphone again. This functionality requires only a small amount of energy, which is drawn from the car’s inductive field. This means the NFC-based exchange of data will be possible even when the smartphone is switched off or its battery is empty.
The Audi mobile key is not designed to replace the classic key, but to supplement it in the future. This will permit online transfer of permission to use the car. Audi customers may use their myAudi account to grant friends or family members access to their car. The new technology is also ideally suited to car rental, car sharing and future mobility services.
Smart devices and their connection to the car
In the future, besides via smartphone functions, interaction with the car will be possible via a smartwatch app. Audi customers thus might use their smartwatches to access, lock and start their cars. They can also display up-to-the-minute vehicle information on their smartwatch and make configuration changes.
For instance, a driver can call up the car’s remaining range or obtain directions back to his car. The car’s auxiliary heater can also be activated in this way. This means a smartphone or smartwatch owner of a vehicle equipped with MMI Navigation plus will always have access to relevant information about his car.
Audi connect – outlook
The role of the car in society is changing, evolving from a status symbol to a mobile device enabling users to be always online even when travelling. Fast LTE mobile communications networks will provide a strong push to topics such as “data in the cloud” (the use of online data) and car-to-X communication.
Car-to-X communication opens up many new opportunities for making driving safer, more relaxed and more economical. Networked cars can warn one another about hazards such as slippery roads or cross-traffic at intersections, for example. Car-to-X communication is also extremely well suited for the dissemination of traffic information data.
Among Audi’s new car-to-X applications is traffic-light information online traffic light information. It networks the car with the central traffic control computer controlling traffic lights in a city displaying information enabling the driver to select the correct speed so as to reach the next traffic light during a green phase. At a red light, the system will display the time remaining until the light turns green.
Audi developed this new technology in-house and has tested it extensively over the years. Field trials have shown that the traffic-light information online traffic signal service both helps drivers and benefits cities and the environment. According to Audi’s calculations, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 15 percent. If deployed throughout Germany, this would correspond to a savings of roughly 900 million liters (240 million US gallons) of fuel.
Equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice.