Ok, I am going to warn you now: this is going to be a long post. Why? Because Audi just dropped a metric ton (see what I did there? German? Metric system? No? Ok moving on..) of new tech, concepts, and sneak peaks at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today.
First of all lets start with what has the car nuts drooling in their computer chairs. While highlighting their new infotainment display Audi has also graced the world with a glimpse of what the next Audi TT interior will look like. Astute observers will notice the stick shift lever between the seats which confirms that a full manual option will be available! This is great news for those who feared the next TT would be a strictly “F1 inspired” mass of tech and “flappy paddle” shifting. While I personally have nothing against paddle or sequential shifters, it does add something to the driving experience to be able to row through the gears. While the transmission Easter egg was cool the real point of showing off the interior is to highlight the new MMI “multi media interface” display which will be available on the new TT. The display allows for integration of navigation, entertainment, and the controls for other systems such as the AC all in one screen which replaces the main gauge cluster. This also means that all the important gauges: MPH, RPMs, temp, etc will be completely digital as well. Everything that the driver needs to know will be displayed on a 12.3 inch TFT monitor. Now for those who are worried about having all that info in their faces, the great thing about the all digital gauge cluster is that it is completely customizable, as in it can be changed to suit visual preferences. If a driver just wants the see the basic needle style gauges then they can have that! Everything can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel or with a set up on the center console. Audi promises the controls will be easy to use and intuitive but we will just have to wait and see how well it all works out when the TT is released. For some pics of the new TT interior and new digital gauge cluster just click the thumbnails above this paragraph.
Next I want to talk a little bit about Audi’s “Active Saftey” technology suite. Audi calls it “Active Safety” but really its a collection of autonomous driving features, each increasingly more awesome than the last. Naturally, “stop and go” adaptive cruise control (ACC) comes to the party but Audi has taken it up a few notches by increasing the distance that the radar can detect objects from 820 feet away. It can bring the car to a full stop, and then proceed, on its own! The new ACC also works with other systems in the car such as Navigation, for example if the driving is approaching a scheduled turn it will adjust the speed accordingly. The system also uses “Active Lane Assist” which essentially keeps drivers in their lane by using cameras to detect markings on the asphalt and then adjusts steering automatically if the driver begins to veer out of it without the turn signal on. Audi has also brought their Parking Assist feature to a new level by using ultrasound sensors to detect the curb and other objects around a parking space to help line itself up to park and there are also 4 cameras for a “surround view” so that when parking manually drivers can literally see everything around them. This is definitely helpful for those who still have problems with parallel parking. Although out of all the Active Safety Systems I think my favorite is the traffic sign recognition. Yes, you read correctly, it can read traffic signs! Not only does it read signs but it will give the driver a heads up or adjust the speed automatically for you if you want it to once it reads the posted speed limits. It also cross references where the driver is via GPS and the local traffic laws for that area and provide notifications incase the driver may be doing something that would get them in hot water. Yes, these features lean a bit on the “Skynet” side but the fact that the tech has come this far is pretty cool. To see how some of the Active Saftey tech works just watch the video above.
Finally, we get to one of the coolest/craziest things Audi brought to CES: The Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight concept car. This is the next iteration of the highly sought after Quattro concept but with one very notable addition. I will focus on the concept as a whole in a later post but for now I want to talk about this “addition”. Audi has been leading the way with headlight tech since they began their push on LED headlights. Well, now they are going beyond that with lasers. Yes, freakin’ lasers. The low beams on the Quattro Laserlight concept are still high output LEDs but the high beams are now laser beams! Despite the laser diodes being only a few microns in diameter they can light the road ahead at a distance over 1,600 feet! That is three times the power of LED headlights. Audi has also stated that they will test their laser light tech on the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro race car this year. That should make for some interesting endurance races! Hit the thumbnails above for some detailed looks at the laser light tech and stay tuned for another post about the laser light concept car specifically.