Audi at CES: Driverless Auto Parking, Matrix LED Headlamps, Next-Gen Infotainment, 3D Audio [2013 CES]
As mentioned, the autonomous parking function will allow drivers to exit their vehicle before instructing the car to find and park itself in a roadside or garage space. Unlike Audi’s currently available self-parking feature, which manipulates the steering while drivers handle acceleration, braking, and shifting, the Piloted Driving parking (Piloted Parking?) feature turns the car into its own valet. For underground parking garages, Audi predicts the parking facilities themselves will need to contribute some info to the car to assist in finding a space; this is accomplished via WLAN-equipped garages . . . of the future. Or maybe the present—Audi currently is working to thus equip a parking garage in Ingolstadt. Either way, the intention is that the car will then drive itself out of the parking spot and back to its owner when called upon.
So how close to reality are Audi’s Piloted Driving functions? Not far off—Audi showed off the compact laser scanner it plans to put in production (it takes the place of the large robotic-looking tower seen on autonomous cars from Google and Lexus) and stated it’s nearly ready for manufacture. The company tentatively said to expect traffic-jam assist to arrive with its next-generation vehicles. The self-parking system could be implemented within only a few years, although we think reluctance on the part of parking-lot owners to spend cash to upfit their facilities as necessary may hold this one up some.
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Audi also debuted a host of fresh cabin technologies, ranging from the addition of 4G LTE connectivity for Audi Connect (coming this year, though to which markets isn’t yet clear) to display concepts like (glasses-free) 3D rear-seat entertainment screens and an OLED, camera-based rearview mirror that could soon show up in production cars. The automaker is already working on the second generation of the VW Group’s modular infotainment platform that debuted in the all-new A3 hatchback, and this new system (dubbed MIB 2) will incorporate an the even hotter NVIDIA-sourced Tegra 3 processor. (The A3′s system uses the Tegra 2.)
Finally, Audi demonstrated a prototype 3D audio system co-developed with Bang & Olufsen in a diesel Q7 crossover. Unlike 5.1 surround-sound or stereo, the 23-speaker, 1400-watt system (with four 3D loudspeakers) actually recreates three-dimensional sound. We briefly sampled the setup and can confirm that it is both hugely loud and hugely good at reproducing realistic sound qualities. The bumpin’ sound system will debut on a yet-unspecified Audi model next year.