The automotive game is moving forward at a rapid pace, with interior technology now equally as important as driving dynamics.
No surprise, then, that the team behind the 2018 Audi A8 is already claiming it will change the scene with the most advanced automotive technology ever seen.
CarAdvice attended the 2016 Audi Tech Day in Munich, where the manufacturer showcased a number of emerging and future technologies. One of the big focuses was on infotainment and connectivity.
Showcasing the use of OLED and AMOLED displays, controllers with haptic feedback, and a learning personal display, Audi expects to have some of these technologies in market as part of the new-generation A8.
Speaking at Audi’s tech day, Niko Spachtholz, head of Audi connect development electronics, told CarAdvice that the next generation of its ‘classical’ car (the A8) would be one of the most advanced cars on the market.
“It is going to be the most innovative car on the market when it comes out. Already we have got a twist to it [haptic feedback].
Spachtholz explained to members of the media that while OLED displays are still quite costly and don’t have proven lifetime longevity, an AMOLED display is just around the corner for the manufacturer. It will be fitted with a haptic response system that responds to soft and hard pushes of the screen in different ways.
When asked whether Audi would lag behind BMW with the 7 Series and whether he thought BMW’s gesture control system had merit, Spachtholz wasn’t fazed.
“Always [when asked if Audi watches its competitors closely]. The customer will say if it’s good or not so good. For us we didn’t see the killer use case for the customer [BMW 7 Series gesture control].
“With the volume control, you’re doing that with your finger centimetres from the volume knob,” he said, dismissing the feature as more of a novelty.
“You can use the steering wheel, [so] for us it wasn’t the killer use case. The bigger use for the customer will be haptic feedback.”
The A8 is also likely to debut a system that Audi calls the Personal Intelligent Assistant (PIA). The system is designed to learn about the driver over time and customise the display, shortcuts and vehicle functions in relation to what the driver normally does or is likely to do.
An example of this is regular callers. I, for example, always call my wife when I leave work for home. PIA would recognise this and have her number as a shortcut as I hop into the car on my way home.
The system will also be able to read messages and calendar entries and will ensure you have sufficient fuel to arrive to your venue, for example, and can recommend service stations and even show current pricing.
The next generation Audi A8 is expected to go on sale closer to the end of 2017. Australian details are yet to be confirmed.