Volkswagen AG’s Audi luxury car division has announced it will launch a new compact model that will feature 4G LTE Internet service. The automaker says accessibility to high-speed Internet will make data available at speed of up to seven times faster than the currently available 3G service, and will result in faster, smoother graphics displays on Audi’s MMI navigation plus system.
The technology will also give motorists access to over 7,000 radio stations and the ability to stream high-definition video on up to eight devices simultaneously. When integrated with Audi Connect, the system will also deliver Facebook and Twitter alerts and news headlines.
According to Senior Manager, Connected Vehicles Product Management for Audi of America Anupam Malhotra, the new technology is another step in the company’s goal of providing customers with safer and easier access to their Internet needs.
The new 4G technology will provide motorists with download speeds that match the most sophisticated smartphones on the market.
Malhotra says, “If you don’t give a customer an alternative, they will pull out a smartphone, which is dangerous.” He also says that not giving customers the technologies they desire is “not an option”, and that integrating the technology with the vehicle’s existing infotainment system actually reduces driver distraction.
The 4G LTE technology also brings fully automated driving, or as Audi calls it “piloted driving”, one step closer to becoming a reality. However the automaker is not focusing on completely eliminating the need for a human driver. Instead, Audi is designing systems that will allow the vehicle to take control of steering, braking, navigation and parking only under difficult circumstances.
Audi has a long-standing relationship with Google and has hinted at an automotive application for Google Glass technology.
The new 4G LTE technology was unveiled at the Connected Car Expo in Los Angeles earlier this month, and is expected to be available on the 2015 Audi A3 which will arrive in dealer showrooms this coming spring.