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Audi to launch mobile "drive-in theatres" with movie streaming in your car

Audi's cabin tech is about to get a major overhaul
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist
CarsGuide

13 Dec 2018 • 3 min read

The question of what to do with all your on-the-road time once the pesky business of actually driving is no longer required has been answered by Audi, with the German giant to debut its "drive-in theatre" technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next year.

For a company that has staked its interior reputation on clean, uncluttered cabins, the push into the new technology is something of a departure, with Audi promising to "turn the inside of the car into an amusement park".

It remains a concept plan for now, but Audi will fit out one of its models as a "drive-in movie theatre", with a high-speed internet connection that unlocks movie streaming (the brand calls it “Audi Immersive In-Car Entertainment”), so passengers can watch blockbusters whenever the car is stationary (for now).

"In Las Vegas, the brand will present a completely new entertainment format where the journey is the destination," the brand says. "The Audi models of the future will be even more connected and therefore provide the prerequisites for an entertainment space. Thanks to automated driving, occupants will have free time in the car in the future, in which they can use the next generation of in-car entertainment."

The idea, of course, is that as autonomous technologies improve, drivers and passengers will have more time to kill. And while plenty of companies are focusing on ways to turn the car into a mobile office, Audi is taking a more fun approach to in-car entertainment.

The concepts will no doubt borrow from fellow VW Group brand Bentley's plan to roll-out a high-speed WiFi connection, called Bentley Advanced Connectivity, in all of its 2019 models that will allow for high-defintion movie streaming at speeds of up to 110km/h.

Bentley has partnered with communications firm Viasat to roll-out the technology, which works by providing a virtual private network (or VPN) which can aggregate as many as three mobile networks into one strong signal. The on-board WiFi router is plugged into the car's power supply, and it links with a connection hub outside the vehicle.

"Users will benefit from Bentley Skype for Business and significant virtual office applications, such as the ability to access and edit files on the go, hold vital video conferences, conduct multiple meetings and be present for crucial discussions, all in a secure virtual environment," Bentley says.

Are you on-board for an autonomous future? Tell us in the comments below.