MMI touch becomes MMI touch response: this revolutionary operating concept in the new A8 brings Audi’s quality standards and numerous innovations into the digital age. The system does away with the rotary push-button control and touchpad of the predecessor model. The instrument panel is kept largely free of buttons and switches.
(4) Precise: MMI touch response
The central element of the operating concept is the 10.1-inch touch display featuring black panel technology. When not in use, the screen blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black faceplate of the instrument panel. When the system is started, the user interface appears, in new visually striking graphics. With a resolution of 1,540 x 720 pixels, the gently curved TFT screen – used here for the first time ever – provides very sharp images and high contrast, even when viewed from an angle. The menu structure is both intuitive and flat, as is familiar from modern smartphones. The user can individually arrange the icons according to their importance.
The decisive strength of the MMI touch response technology is its haptic feedback. When a finger touches the display glass, it does not immediately activate a function – to do this, the user must press gently with a defined pressure. The driver feels a mechanical pulsation which serves to confirm that the function has been successfully selected. This is created by means of an electromagnet moving the spring-mounted display minimally to the side by roughly the width of a human hair. At the same time a small loudspeaker emits a click sound. Here, Audi is opening a new chapter in terms of the user experience.
A second 8.6-inch display on the console of the center tunnel serves the operation of the air-conditioning system and comfort functions, as well as text entry. The latter occurs optionally either via an overlay keyboard – possible when the vehicle is stationary – or by means of innovative handwriting recognition which can also recognize entire words in cursive handwriting or overlapping letters. To this end, the driver can comfortably place his or her wrist on the broad selector lever of the tiptronic transmission. Each letter recognized causes the emission of an acoustic feedback, whereby the driver can always keep his or her eyes firmly on the road. As with the two displays, the row of switches on the center tunnel and the light switch module have a continuous, seamless glass-look surface. They provide haptic and audible feedback when pressing a function. Even the air vents can be controlled by means of touch.
Intelligent: the natural-language voice control system
The new, natural-language voice control system makes the A8 an intelligent conversation partner. It understands many expressions from everyday language use and can react to commands and questions. To do this, on the one hand, the system uses data on the user’s preferences, including for example navigation destinations saved in the vehicle. Meanwhile, on the other hand, a new hybrid technology is used which, in conjunction with Audi connect and the cloud, recognizes the commands spoken in the vehicle interior.
The driver can freely formulate spoken commands – the voice recognition system understands such sentences as “Please take me to the Adlon Hotel in Berlin”. If necessary, the clever dialog manager asks questions, allows for corrections, offers suitable suggestions and even accepts when the user interrupts the system. In dialog with the voice control system, the driver can switch between different menu areas. For example, he or she can call a contact from the phone book and then use the associated address as a navigation destination without having to call it up again separately. The new hybrid voice control system is also connected with media sources, the air-conditioning system, the telephone functions and selected Audi connect services. A multifunction steering wheel and an optional head-up display round out the operating concept in the new A8.
Fascinating scope: Audi connect and infotainment
The service offering from Audi connect is particularly diverse. It ranges from the new hybrid radio functionality which, depending on the reception quality, can switch seamlessly between FM, DAB and online radio stations, and extends right up as far as emergency and breakdown calls. Data on traffic signs and information on dangers are two innovative Car-to-X services which make use of swarm intelligence as part of the Audi fleet. Next year, the On-Street Parking service will be added. Data obtained through the vehicle swarm facilitates the search for a parking space. The driver is shown information on the possibility of finding a parking space in a particular street.
The new myAudi app connects the car with smartphones. And thus directly provides the customer with a number of connect services. Accordingly, the driver is able to keep a close eye on the current fuel level of his/her A8 and can also lock and unlock the vehicle remotely using the app. What’s more, the new myAudi navigation feature enables the driver to seamlessly plan a route across multiple devices; something which is especially helpful in unfamiliar cities. To give an example: the app guides the customer from a restaurant to their car, which is parked a few streets away, then switches from the smartphone to the on-board monitor. When the customer gets out of their A8 at the end of their journey, it accompanies them again on their smartphone to their next destination, be it on foot or using public transport.
The greatly optimized navigation system of the new A8 is able to learn on the basis of routes which have already been driven, as a result of which the system can thus make intelligent suggestions to the driver. The calculation is performed online on the servers of the map and navigation provider HERE, whereby real-time data concerning the overall traffic situation is also taken into account. Also included in the map view are detailed 3D models of many major cities in Europe. A8 owners benefit from four map updates annually which can be obtained from Audi connect using the LTE Internet connection.
The latest version of the modular infotainment platform, the MIB 2+, serves as the control hub for all these functions. It integrates a cutting-edge K1 processor from the Audi venture partner NVIDIA. A second K1 chip generates the graphics on the standard-installed Audi virtual cockpit, which serves as the digital instrument cluster and which offers a full HD resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels. The MIB 2+ system can be expanded by the addition of the connect data transmission module including Wi-Fi hotspot. This introduces the LTE Advanced standard into the automotive sphere – another world first from Audi. It enables transmission rates of up to 300 MBit/s for downloads and up to 50 MBit/s for uploads, about three times that which is currently possible.
Optionally available for the first time, the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System brings fascinating 3D sound with its treble information directly to the rear seats. Using its 23 speakers, four of which are installed in the ceiling area, the music unfolds exactly as it was recorded in the concert hall. To do this, the system draws on an algorithm that Audi developed jointly with the Fraunhofer Institute. Thanks to the Audi phone box and voice-over-LTE function, even telephony in the A8 reaches a new level both in terms of operation and the quality of the sound and connection.
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.