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Audi has officially launched its new Connect Plus multimedia system in Australia, with the in-car tech appearing in the A6, A7, A8 and Q8 before being rolled out across most of the brand’s range. But while highlighting today's tech, the brand has also peeled back the curtain on what’s around the corner for your next new car.
Audi's new Connect Plus system ups the brand's connected-car stakes, adding real-time traffic functionality that tracks mobile phone locations (and any other GPS-connected device) to reveal traffic snarls.
The A6 (and other connected Audi products) will also automatically contact emergency services in the event of an accident - or prompt you to if the accident isn't too severe - as well as report fuel prices at individual service stations, and even search local car parks for available spaces and pricing.
The navigation system gets a major overhaul, too; now able to identify storms along your route and advise you to park your car before you hit it.
Perhaps the biggest win for parents, though, is the ability to geo-fence an area, with the Audi sending an alert to your mobile phone if the car leaves a pre-defined route, or exceeds a pre-set speed limit. The idea, Audi says, is to make it easier to ensure your kids are safe when they borrow your car.
The tech is delivered through an on-board Telstra SIM card, and the initial subscription lasts three years, and will cost about $100 per year thereafter.
"Audi Connect Plus brings the latest in convenience, safety, security and car-to-X services," says Audi's product planner, Matthew Dale.
"It offers safety and security features that are at the forefront of our brand, but also convenience for our customers through car-to-X services."
Perhaps more exciting, though, is what's around the corner for the brand, with Audi offering a sneak-peek at the new technology it is currently "pushing for" in Australia.
First to arrive will be a connected air suspension system that doesn't just scan the road ahead for imperfections, and prepare accordingly, but will warn your fellow road users of oil slicks, standing water or potholes.
"Predictive suspension is something we're working on right now. It is linked to Audi Connect Plus, and it's an air-suspension system that can lift if there's an imminent collision coming, but it can also use those same sensors to see potholes, or if there's something on the road that you should be aware of," Dale says.
"Say for example a vehicle hits a pothole, with vehicles connected to other vehicles, it will tell other cars in that street there's a pothole and be able to provide a warning for them."
Next on the brand's list is connected traffic lights, essentially eliminating stopping for a red signal altogether by telling the car when a light is going to turn green. The technology is already in use in Germany, and Audi wants the same system to speed-up Australian cities.
"We're also actively seeking opportunities with traffic light information," Dale says.
"For example, the car knows that in 62 seconds a light is going to go green, so there's a notification that comes up that says to roll off the accelerator and just coast down that street, and that it will be a green light by the time you get to it.
"Audi AG is working on these projects on a global level. What that roadmap looks like we can't confirm at this stage, but this is the future of connected cars."