A search function that is as intuitive as that on a smartphone. Voice command that will understand everyday terms. A virtual tachometer needle with an absolutely smooth motion because it is recalculated 60 times per second – Audi breaks new ground in the design of controls and displays in its cars. The most recent highlights include the new MMI interface concept, the Audi virtual cockpit and a voice command which will obey natural language.
Controls and displays in the new Audi Q7
The new Audi Q7*, to be marketed from 2015, will set new benchmarks in terms of its interface concept, infotainment, Audi connect and in its driver assistance systems. The car will come with the new generation of the Audi MMI with a large central display and the newly developed MMI all-in-touch control unit featuring a large touchpad, a natural-speech voice command and the Audi virtual cockpit. Other innovations include the Audi smart phone interface and the Audi tablet for rear-seat passengers.
Playfully easy: the new MMI operating concept
The new generation of the Audi MMI interface makes using the numerous functions of the Audi Q7 especially easy. Operation follows a flat hierarchy geared to the driver’s needs MMI displays appear on the central monitor, which rises up from the instrument panel when the system is started and also enables the passengers to use the Audi MMI system in the familiar way.
The innovative MMI search with intelligent suggestions makes it easy to find specific song titles and to input telephone contacts or navigation destinations. This significantly reduces the number of steps in operation. Writing just a few letters on the touchpad will cause the system to display initial results taking into account the car’s position. When searching for a restaurant, for instance, the driver only need enter its name and the first letters of the city, and a list of hits throughout Europe appears together with the addresses. Audi once again sets a benchmark here.
Nearly all entries can be completed in just a few steps. Two supplemental menus offer up intelligently linked functions and options. One of them allows the driver to change the frequency band in radio mode or to call up traffic information in map mode. The driver can also use context-sensitive options and settings to navigate to an entered destination he or she entered, display parking places nearby or save the destination to a list of favorites.
Haptic feedback: MMI all-in-touch
In terms of operating, the newly developed MMI all-in-touch control unit with a full touch surface stands out. Each input is followed by an acoustic and a haptic confirmation – a click that is also felt on the finger. The driver can enter characters on the large touchpad or perform multi-finger gestures to zoom on the map, for example. The main functions can be accessed using the high-quality rotary pushbutton and two rocker switches. The driver can also assign personal favorites, such as navigation destinations, telephone numbers or radio stations, to eight freely programmable buttons.
“Where can I fill up?”: new natural-speech operation
Another highlight in the new Q7 is the voice control system. It has become much simpler. Drivers no longer need to conform to predefined commands. The system will understand phrases from everyday speech, meaning that hundreds of command variations are possible for each function. In the telephone menu, for example, the driver can call up a contact simply with the words “I want to make a call to John Smith” or “Connect me with John Smith”.
In navigation, simple commands will help such as "Where can I get gas?" or "Where is the nearest Italian restaurant?". Natural-speech control such as "Listen to iPod" is also integrated into radio and media menu entries. This allows comfortable operation of the system thanks to end-to-end voice operation.
To provide a perspective, Audi is also showing online-based natural-speech voice operation, which incorporates the onboard database, but also Audi connect services. This will allow a customer, for instance, to easily find out about the weather at his destination or to locate a nearby gas station with bargain prices.
The Audi virtual cockpit
In the Audi Q7, the optional MMI Navigation plus can be ordered with the Audi virtual cockpit: a 12.3-inch TFT screen with a resolution of 1,440x540 pixels displaying ultracrisp and detail-rich graphics. The driver can switch between a classic view with high-quality rendered dial instruments and an infotainment view with an extended display area for lists and the map – all conveniently from the steering wheel. The display’s high flexibility enables the driver to have navigation information, onboard computer data and, for instance, the media list within view in the central area.
The essential control logic of the Audi MMI is also reflected in the new multifunction steering wheels. The keys on the left spoke control the menus as via the MMI while those on the right spoke operate audio output and actuate the voice dialog system. What is new is express operation of the telephone and a practical skip function for quick changes of the radio station or the music title.
New Audi TT: Audi virtual cockpit with integrated MMI operation
Audi has fully made over the new TT*’s driver-oriented operational concept.
The TT now comes with two of the brand’s innovations – the new MMI Multi Media interface and the Audi virtual cockpit digital instrument combination.
Audi virtual cockpit
In the new TT, the Audi virtual cockpit replaces analog instruments and the MMI monitor. On this 12.3-inch fully-digital combination instrument, the driver can switch between a classic view with dial instruments rendered in high quality and an infotainment view with an extended display area for lists and the navigational map.
In addition, the driver can choose certain values of the onboard computer for permanent display. The display’s high flexibility enables the driver to have navigation information, onboard computer data and, for instance, the media list within view in the central area. In the TTS model, an additional display option assigns a central position to the tachometer, highlighting the car’s affinity to motorsports.
MMI touch control unit
The Audi virtual cockpit MMI can be controlled from the steering wheel, but also from the center tunnel. In the TT, the MMI Navigation plus comes with the MMI touchwheel. This allows the driver to use the touchpad on the top of the rotary pushbutton to zoom into the navigational map and to enter characters. All key functions can be reached with just a few clicks, and the buttons on the side provide access to intelligently linked functions and options.
Free-text MMI search
A major highlight of the new system is MMI search, which is available for all basic menus and uses free text entry like an internet search engine. It generally answers queries after just a few letters, taking into account the car’s current location. When searching for a restaurant, for instance, the driver only need enter the name and the first letters of the city and a list of hits throughout Europe appears together with the addresses. Searching for songs, albums and radio stations works similarly.
Intuitive: the new natural-language operation
Voice operation has also been intensively reworked and expanded. It will now understand many phrases from everyday speech. To call a contact, a command such as “I want to call John Smith” will be enough. A multifunction steering wheel is available as an additional control instrument. Other than touch gestures, the driver can use control keys and cylinders to perform the same steps as with the MMI terminal, all without taking his eyes off the road.
Equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice.