STABLE CONNECTION – The cities of the future will be networked by the new LTE mobile communications standard. Audi is already testing it and aims to be the first automotive manufacturer to instal the technology in a car.
The technology that keeps the Audi of the future connected to the Internet is usually hidden from the driver’s view. It is crucial that the mobile connection is always stable – something that today’s networks like UMTS cannot provide. In February 2011, Audi became the first vehicle manufacturer to develop a test vehicle for LTE (Long Term Evolution), the new mobile network standard. LTE has a very fast peak data rate of 100 MBit/s, and has already successfully completed test drives in Cologne, the pilot region.
Connectivity in cars will transform traffic in future, too. Driver assistance programs in particular benefit from the exchange of information between the vehicle and its environment. As part of the “simTD” research project, Audi is studying how fuel consumption and emissions can be reduced by communication between vehicles and traffic lights. The result is an assistant that can save around one in every six liters of fuel in urban traffic because it helps the driver to ride the green wave on city roads efficiently.
Developments like these shape Hudi’s vision of driving on autopilot. “According to our vision of autopilot, I can hand over control of the vehicle when I don’t want to drive myself – for instance in heavy traffic or when parking. But if I want some driving fun, I take command.” This vision should be possible by the end of the next decade. The basic technical groundwork has already been laid: The Audi A8 automatically accelerates to the driver’s desired speed and maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front, while a lane-keeping assistant helps the driver to steer. Audi plans to expand systems like these on a step-by-step basis.
AUDI CONNECT – In early 2011, Audi combined its entire vehicle networking strategy under the heading of “Audi connect”. The manufacturer with the four rings has done this to ensure that all individual functions are fully integrated: the vehicle’s online connections, the link between the car and the driver, and the network connecting the vehicle to the environment, or one vehicle to another.
The strategic concept is backed by products that make driving safer and more comfortable. Our chart outlines several key connect functions.
Wippermann is confident that fully-automatic driving will become more and more accepted. “People want to be mobile, but they want to use the time they are on the road differently, for example to communicate via social networks.” But Wippermann and Hudi agree that 15 years from now, people will still enjoy driving along a beautiful coastal stretch, autopilot and mobile phone off, with their favorite music blaring. With one difference – at the destination, the driver will get out and the car will take itself to an underground garage and find a free parking space.
1 Audi A8 fuel consumption in l/100 km: combined from 11.9 to 6.0; CO2 emissions in g/km: combined from 277 to 158.