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Archive for January, 2016


Audi is one of the automotive industry’s leaders in the development of self-driving cars. But in order to refine the technology, the German automaker needed someplace to test it. The company recently announced it will use Thunderhill Raceway as the location to fine tune their self-driving cars. This is important because for Audi to make the next step in the evolution of these futuristic cars, people must be able to drive them around without running the risk of injuring engineers and members of the public.

The paved track, infield area, and grandstands give the engineers exactly what they need to put the self-driving cars through their paces. The raceway also provides them with the vantage points and infrastructure to support the equipment needed to monitor the tests. Plus, the track is designed to safely handle automobiles moving at very high speeds. The configuration of Thunderhill Raceway Park with its 5-mile track may have also played a role in Audi’s decision to make it the home base for their advanced testing. Its variety of courses, technical challenges, camber and elevation changes and great curbing have led some to proclaim Thunderhill as the best track in the country. To see why Audi is such a leader in every aspect, check one out at Audi of Tucson.

Thunderhill Raceway Park is seen as the ideal location and facility for Audi and its partner Electronic Research Lab to push their new innovative self-driving cars to their very limits. The challenges the track presents allows engineers to gain a greater and more in-depth understanding of just how the self-driving automobiles will respond to the sudden, unexpected, and extreme maneuvers they will be tasked with performing. Thunderhill is the perfect place for Audi engineers to test and improve their groundbreaking self-driving automobiles making it flawless before it hits the streets in a few years. If you like Audi, you should check out some of the new Audi inventory available.

Audi has tested their self-driving cars on several tracks in Germany and California with great success. At Sonoma, the company pushed their self-driving RS 7 concept car at near top speed for numerous laps. The vehicle handled all the tests with uniform precision. Engineers were even able to push the self-driving vehicle to attain and maintain lap speeds that their human driven sports cars were not able to manage. The engineer in charge of the development of the driver assistance, steering, and braking systems at Audi, Thomas Müller, was very pleased with the results.

At the rate Audi’s testing and development program is progressing, the next Audi A8 is projected to be able to drive itself. Over the next few years the lessons learned at Thunderhill Raceway will be integrated into Audi’s evolving self-driving technology. Using the raceway park for a significant portion of their testing research is ideal because Thunderhill has a variety of track sizes and driving conditions. Audi will continue to supplement its track testing with testing conducted on public roads and in live traffic. For Audi, Thunderhill Raceway is a crucial step in the refinement of their highly automated driving systems. It puts the innovative automaker on the verge of self-driven cars.

Audi Navigation

German automaker Audi has recently announced a deal with the technology company Qualcomm. According to the announcement Qualcomm will provide chips to be used in the infotainment and navigation equipment in some Audi automobiles. Qualcomm showed off its first chipset designed to be used in infotainment systems in automobiles at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in 2015. With that chipset, the Snapdragon 602A, Qualcomm showed its ability to create innovative chips. The company created a concept car using an Audi Q7 to demonstrate what the Snapdragon 602A chipset could do.

Qualcomm’s background in the business world has been in wireless communications technology. Their technology is embedded in millions of consumer devices including cell phone, navigation, and even photo sharing products people use every day. Their new partnership with Audi breaks new ground and provides new avenues for both companies. Audi has long been in the forefront of innovative new automotive technology. Linking up with Qualcomm to add speed and power to its entertainment and navigation processing opens up a whole new world of possibilities as Audi continues to develop its driver assistance technology and moves swiftly towards self-driving cars. To see any current models, you can check one out at Audi of Tucson.

With Audi poised to integrate the Snapdragon 602A, Qualcomm’s first chipset designed for automotive use, there’s much to excite automobile enthusiasts. Audi hasn’t been reticent in declaring its commitment to radical driver assistance programs while simultaneously working on driverless cars. Working with a technological powerhouse like Qualcomm bodes well for both of Audi’s car technology development tracks. As cars have become more computerized, many chipmakers have expressed an interest in becoming involved in automotive technology. Audi’s deal with Qualcomm vaults them to the head of the class.

The public will soon see what the collaboration between Audi and Qualcomm will generate. Qualcomm technology will be integrated into some models of Audi’s 2017 lineup. Although it hasn’t been announced which 2017 Audi models will have Qualcomm chips running their infotainment features, Qualcomm’s demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas gave the public a peek at what an automaker and a tech company working closely together can achieve.

Qualcomm recently announced it development a chipset that’s even more advanced. Called the Snapdragon 820A, Qualcomm’s new chipset combines integrated LTE data modems with processing and graphics rendering. The Snapdragon 820A chipset merges software and silicone to create a system-on-a-chip. The system has a graphics processing unit and a 64-bit CPU. A Qualcomm technology designed to use extensive analysis to quickly identify objects called a Zeroth deep learning platform is programmed into the chipset.

Qualcomm’s recent acquisition of CSR, a builder of Bluetooth chipsets for automobile phone connectivity, signals their commitment to developing not only infotainment system chip technology, but technology for pre-collision braking, lane departure prevention, and other advanced driver assistance features. Plus the Snapdragon 820A can provide drivers with traffic data, destination searches, and other useful information while using hypervisor technology to prevent hacking. Lengthy product development cycles may delay integration of Snapdragon 820A chips into Audi’s newest vehicles.


Recent Show Displays Future of Virtual Reality System

Audi took advantage of the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to show off a new virtual reality system that lets customers design their next Audi. The “virtual showroom” will be coming to dealerships like Audi of Tucson in the U.S. later this year. Consumers will put on virtual reality goggles and be able to design and build any Audi model from the ground up. Selections from wheels and transmissions to engines and interior colors and amenities are all available on the Audi Virtual Showroom. The system will be installed first at major Audi markets around the world, including London and Beijing.

Audi VR System Breaks Down Cars Into Millions of Pieces

The new Audi Virtual Reality system breaks each Audi models down into millions of little polygons. A very powerful computer, one capable of reproducing content at 90 frames per second, drives the whole system. The result is a virtual three-dimensional world where the customer literally builds his or her own car in real-time. It was only two years ago when there wasn’t a computer powerful enough to run such a system. Audi has been working with giant graphic processor company Nvidia, along with virtual reality outlets Oculus and HTC, to bring the virtual showroom to reality.

Virtual Dashboard Also on Display at CES

Audi also took the opportunity at the CES to show off the virtual dashboard concept interior. Audi already has the virtual cockpit, a heads up display that relays vital vehicle information in line-of-sight with the road. The virtual dashboard combines a curved organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display that sits in the drivers view along with a dual touchscreen multi media interface in the console. “The interior of the future will radically alter the way our customers operate and experience things in the vehicle,” according to Audi VP Ricky Hudi. “We are developing our successful Audi virtual cockpit into the Audi virtual dashboard and creating an entirely new world of experience for our customers.”

Experience Virtual Cockpit for Yourself

Although the virtual dashboard or showroom aren’t quite ready for use yet, you can see how the virtual cockpit works with a trip to Audi of Tucson. A simple nudge of the vehicle’s MMI button switches the cockpit back and forth from displaying information like speed and revolutions per minute to navigation or infotainment. Three-dimensional, high-resolution graphics make the information easy to see and read even in bright daylight. Visit Audi of Tucson to inspect the new Audi inventory and find out what other technological innovations are in the works.

audi cockpit

Line of Sight Information Reduces Distractions

By combining all necessary driving information in a colorful 12.3-inch display right in front of the driver’s eyes, the Audi virtual cockpit helps keep eyes focused on the road. A driver can select two different modes to display different information more prominently. In classic view, the speedometer and tachometer take center stage as they would in a normal instrument cluster. Choose infotainment mode and the navigation and audio controls are featured. Temperature, time, mileage and other information is displayed at the bottom in both modes. Swing by Audi of Tucson and ask to see the virtual cockpit in action during a test drive.

Nvidia Chip Displays Information Instantaneously

Audi is the first carmaker to use Nvidia’s Tegra 30 chip to display accurate information quickly. Nvidia, longtime makers of graphics processors for computers, has refined the chip to process 60 frames per second, necessary for the speedometer and tachometer to display the correct information. From vehicle data to the rearview camera, the Audi virtual cockpit has the ability to put all-important driving information in line of sight and help keep a driver focused on the road.

MMI System Gives Driver Complete Control

Audi’s Multi Media Interface system is controlled by a small knob that allows drivers to switch between modes with the turn of a dial. Although drivers can also change views and control some virtual cockpit functions with buttons on the steering wheel, the MMI controller is still the main element a driver can use to get into the more complex controls for features like navigation and hands free communication. The Audi system also uses voice recognition for some display features. Much like a joystick, the MMI controller just needs a gentle nudge one way or another to display a different screen or open different options. The result is an intuitive, intelligent control that is now easier to use than ever before.

3D Imagery, High Resolution Provide Clear Graphics

Even with the sun streaming through a side window, the high resolution 3D graphics make the Audi virtual cockpit extremely easy to see. The future is also bright for the Audi virtual cockpit, as explained by Ricky Hudi, director of electronic development for Audi. “We are developing our successful Audi virtual cockpit into the Audi virtual dashboard,” he said at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “The entire system will get to know the customer and their habits and preferences, then proactively support them.” See the current version of the Audi virtual cockpit by taking a test drive at Audi of Tucson.

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Audi Investing in Fast Charging Network

In preparation for the first all-electric Audi SUV, the company is investing in a nationwide 150 kilowatt fast charging station. By providing an 80 percent charge in only 30 minutes, the network will give drivers the ability to go an additional 200 miles before needing another charge. “With the cars on this stage – the Audi A3 e-tron hybrid plug-in and the Audi e-tron Quattro electric SUV – we are, in full force, joining the electric revolution,” company President Scott Keogh told a gathering at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. The all-electric Audi SUV, scheduled to arrive at the Audi of Tucson showroom for the 2018 model year, will have a range of 250 miles. Industry experts feel that extending the range of all-electric vehicles is key to gaining public acceptance of this clean fuel source.

A3 Sportback e-tron Available Now

Not your grandma’s clunky hybrid, the A3 Sportback e-tron is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that features the sporty performance and luxurious comfort people have come to expect from an Audi. With a sleek design and plenty of cargo space, this is the crossover utility vehicle that puts the fun in functional. Whether you’re heading out for a night on the town or taking your kids and their equipment to the Saturday morning soccer game, the A3 Sportback is more than up to the task. The A3 Sportback delivers 204 combined horsepower between the gas and electric engines, which is plenty of zip for passing trucks in the mountains or tackling a winding road. All the advanced Audi driver assistance systems are available, making it one of the safest cars on the planet.

Buy an e-tron, Help Save the Planet

As part of the energy program associated with all e-tron vehicle sales, Audi collaborates with a carbon offset program to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint. The company supports programs that capture greenhouse gases and help forested lands stay lush and full of trees. Audi also invests in the Wildlife Works program, which is designed to protect Africa’s forest ecosystem. By investing in education, the preservation of wildlife and reforestation, Audi and Wildlife Works are helping to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and make the planet a better place to live.

See How Much Fun a Hybrid is to Drive

Stop by Audi of Tucson and ask for a test drive in either the A3 Sportback or larger Q5 SUV hybrid. Don’t be surprised by the power, responsiveness and overall upscale feel of either vehicle. After all, you are driving an Audi.

Hydrogen-powered Audi Q6

Audi has done it again. The German automaker known for its innovative automotive technology is set to release another futuristic vehicle. Word has it that Audi will unveil its new hydrogen-powered Q6 at the Detroit Auto Show in 2016. Yes hydrogen powered vehicles are here and Audi has them and is ready to show the world. As the Q6 lineup continues to take shape, Audi is taking yet another innovative leap forward. Fuel cell technology has long been discussed. If the rumors are true, Audi is ready to show off a fuel-cell version of their e-tron Quattro concept. Once available, you can see one at Audi of Tucson, among many other great Audi models.

Less than a year ago, Audi got everyone’s attention when they debuted their all-electric e-tron Quattro concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show 2015. The timing and location of the debut seemed to be designed to upstage the Tesla Model X produced by Elon Musk. Its more conventional design, over 300 mile range, and established network of dealers instantly makes the e-tron more accessible and attractive to consumers than the Tesla Model X. This futuristic all-electric concept seems likely to become available in 2018 powering an Audi Q6. But before car enthusiasts have even had time to wrap their minds around the concept, Audi has up the ante again by adding fuel-cell technology.

With the imminent release of the hydrogen-cell powered Q6, Audi continues to show why they have long been a leader in automotive technology. They are always willing to push the envelope in their unending quest to build the best automobiles in the world in terms of safety, performance, and reliability. Now with the impending release of the hydrogen-cell powered Audi Q6 h-tron hot on the heels of e-tron with its electric powertrain, you can add energy-efficiency and environmentally green to the Audi motto of “Truth In Engineering”.

Audi gave consumer a peak at their hydrogen fuel-cell powerplant technology with the release of the A7 Sportback h-tron Quatro. Now the company seems set to give consumers more choices when it comes to powering their automobiles. The automaker offers gasoline, diesel, electric, and now hydrogen powered vehicles. Insiders say the Q6 h-tron looks a lot like the Q6 e-tron in terms of its styling, and car buffs and environmentalists alike want to see how it will perform in the real world. If the rumors are true, they will be closer to having their wish come true come the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

The automotive world waits with baited breath to see what Audi will do next. For decades they have been at the forefront of automotive innovation, and they show no signs of stopping or even slowing down. With the unveiling of the Q6 h-tron, Audi will be giving the driving public a peak behind the curtain of their innovative automotive engineering workshop. By revealing the hydrogen-powered Q6 h-tron in Detroit in 2016 alongside its vehicles with conventional gas-powered engines, Audi is announcing that the future in motoring is here and it’s being brought to you be Audi.

Truth in engineering indeed.

Audi Q7

The future of the automobile is here and it’s being brought to you by Audi. That’s the logical conclusion one draws after test driving the Audi Q7 SUV. The vehicle actually works to hide your driving warts and flaws and does its best to make a better driver out of you. How can Audi’s new Q7 SUV make you drive better? In many and diverse ways using the technology Audi has integrated into this new vehicle. The Audi Q7 thinks. It considers conditions and situations, and takes the safest actions for all concerned. It could revolutionize the driving experience.

The Audi Q7 SUV is the bridge between the old way of driving and the soon the debut self-driving cars. This automobile’s safety technology not only alerts the driver to potential traffic problems, it can also take other evasive actions itself. When you get behind the wheel of the Audi Q7, driving evolves into a collaborative activity. The vehicle improves the driver’s awareness of road conditions and traffic flow and can make driving safer and more fun. To see how fun the Q7 is, check one out at Audi of Tucson.

The Audi Q7 is a great vehicle. It has all-wheel drive, room for 7, and goes from zero to 60 in a respectable 5.7 seconds. That’s tops in its class. But beyond how smoothly the Q7 rides, how comfortable and refined the interior is, and how incredible it looks, what truly sets this vehicle from the future apart is the safety technology that’s incorporated into it. Things like lane assist, automatic breaking, and a whole host of sensors and cameras come together to create a pre-sense system that improves safety and makes you into a much better driver.

The Audi Q7 has vehicle and pedestrian detection technology which warns the driver of an impending collision. If the driver neither brakes nor attempts to avoid the person or automobile, the Q7 tightens its seat belts, closes its windows, stops just short of the object in its path, and makes the driver look smart. This will help to prevent accidents and injuries. The Audi Q7 also has active lane assist which helps you to stay in your lane and adaptive cruise control which matches the speed of the automobile right in front of you, and keeps you centered in your lane, and under the speed limit.

The Q7 slows itself when passing through areas with lots of pedestrians and keeps itself inside the lane lines when the driver fails to do so. The vehicle even alerts drivers that let go of the steering wheel for too long. It’s very helpful for drivers that aren’t paying attention or tend to be a little bit reckless. It makes them better drivers and less prone to getting into accidents. The settings can also be adjusted to give the driver a little more latitude and control.

Drivers find the SUV, which is powered by a 333 horsepower supercharged V6 3.0 liter engine, easy to handle. But if they slip up, the vehicle will take care of itself and its occupants.