Audi offers the MMI navigation plus as an option in the large sedan model series and in the A7 Sportback. It is operated in an entirely new way – via a touchpad known as the MMI touch.
To enter a destination or phone number, the driver writes the letters or digits with their finger on the touch-sensitive control panel; they can also navigate within the map in the same way. This input technique works intuitively and requires almost no familiarization. The hand rests comfortably on the armrest or on the selector lever of the eight-speed tiptronic. The driver’s finger writes the letters and numbers as if automatically – and the driver’s attention remains focused on the road.
The system acknowledges the input after each character by briefly repeating back the letter or digit recognized. If the user makes a mistake, a simple swipe from right to left is all that it takes to delete it. In contrast to voice control, touchpad input is possible even while conversing, while other people in the vehicle are talking or while an audio source is active.
The technology of MMI touch is based on a network that has been fed with thousands of character samples from all around the world. The system can thus be used internationally. In addition to Latin letters, the system also recognizes Cyrillic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters.
The touchpad comprises the sensor module and the computer located below it. A fast processor analyzes the symbols and forwards them to the MMI system. The rapid and reliable character recognition is based on neural networks. The sensor module constitutes the touch-sensitive film incorporating numerous conductor tracks, and the top; white high-performance LEDs illuminate it from below. A special coating ensures that the surface can withstand 600,000 inputs with no visible degradation of its high-quality appearance.