How Audi's new augmented reality tech could change navigation forever
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Getting lost or making a wrong turn in the cut and thrust of peak hour could soon be a thing of the past. Audi has developed new augmented reality technology that promises to make vehicle navigation that little bit easier.
To debut on the upcoming new Q4 e-Tron – an all-electric SUV to slot below the regular e-Tron – the augmented reality tech uses 600,000 lines of software code, which Audi says is 50 per cent more than the original Space Shuttle had for its entire control system.
Compiling data from the GPS navigation and forward-facing camera and radar, the AR system superimposes navigation instructions and warnings onto a virtual space 10 or more metres ahead of the driver, aligning precisely with what they’re looking at in front of the car.
Think of it as a blend of the virtual and real worlds.
The idea is to place an arrow or instruction over the exact piece of road the driver is looking at, eliminating doubt over exactly which turn the navigation system is directing you to.
The optional AR system updates 60 times per second and even includes “shake compensation” to account for bumps or sudden changes of direction.
Key to the AR tech is the picture generation unit embedded behind the digital instrument cluster.
It houses a super bright LCD that directs beams of light to two mirrors that then precisely beam it onto a space on the windscreen that creates the illusion it is way ahead in the driver’s field of vision.
Various car makers are working on AR and some have even released basic versions of the technology, but the Q4 e-Tron clearly takes it to the next level.
It’s part of a tech explosion for the electric SUV that is due in New Zealand in next year.
There is also the largest digital display offered in an Audi – an optional 11.6-inch central infotainment screen – and a customisable instrument cluster.
The steering wheel has also been redesigned to incorporate touch buttons that include swipe functionality to make it easier to scroll between radio stations and other menus.
As well as traditional materials such as leather, Audi will offer the Q4 e-Tron with new recycled finishes made from recycled PET plastic bottles.
It’s part of making the crucial new EV SUV appealing to not only traditional luxury car buyers but the younger generation that is often more environmentally-aware.