Audi vehicles are master communicators. Some of them can network with the Internet. The catchword here is Audi connect. This requires the Bluetooth car phone online, an extension of the top-of-the-line navigation system MMI navigation plus, that brings a UMTS module and a Wi-Fi hotspot to the car.
The UMTS module, which is integrated into the head unit of the MMI navigation plus system, currently establishes the connection to special Google services and to the World Wide Web and retrieves news, travel and weather information. Drivers can plan their travel routes on their computers at home or in the office, upload them to a special section of the Internet site www.audi.com/myaudi and download them from there on starting the trip. The navigation system uses the fast UMTS connection to also load three-dimensional satellite and aerial photographs from Google Earth. They appear on the MMI monitor in a bird’s eye view or top-down view superimposed over the normal road map. In addition, photos, selected articles and Yellow Pages entries can also be called up.
The new Audi online traffic information service displays up-to-the-minute data about the flow of traffic graphically on the navigation map and continuously integrates this information into the calculation of the route. If the chosen route is free, it appears marked in green on the monitor. Yellow indicates dense traffic, orange represents slow-moving traffic, and red standing traffic. The Audi system is more precise than current TMC solutions because it draws its data from a central server that computes the current traffic situation with the latest data from multiple sources. These include official reports from state traffic reporting centers (Germany) and vehicle fleets on the road as automatic traffic reporting units.
Another online feature is the Wi-Fi hotspot. The rear seat passengers can use it to connect their terminal devices, from a laptop to an Apple iPad to a netbook, to the Internet. Communication with the World Wide Web is via the roof-mounted antenna. This enhances the stability of the connection and provides excellent reception quality. A special modulation method called High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) enables UMTS data transfers at up to 7.2 Mbit per second. The connection is secured using state-of-the-art encryption according to the WPA2 standard.
The Wi-Fi hotspot is very easy to use. The driver simply places a data-capable SIM card with a suitable data flat rate in the slot of the MMI head unit. Many carriers offer an additional Multi-SIM card for this purpose as part of an existing contract. Alternatively, the SIM card in a mobile phone that supports the SIM Access Profile can be used simply and conveniently via a Bluetooth connection. Users should first ask about rates, however. We recommend a flat rate.
In future, Audi connect will enable the customer to also update or subsequently activate certain software functions of the car in addition to using online services.
Another aspect of Audi connect is the networking of the car and its owner. In the future, Audi drivers will be able to use smartphone functions that are tailored to their model and networked with the vehicle. The smartphone also plays an important role in the mobility planning of Audi’s electric-powered models.