CES: Audi Previews New Q7, Updated Prologue Concept Car

AUDI CES Rear Entertainment - H 2015
Courtesy of Audi

AUDI CES Rear Entertainment - H 2015

Among Audi's coming attractions: 3D sound and dedicated tablets for the new Q7 and a virtual dashboard with 3D graphics.

The day after a modified A7 arrived in Las Vegas after driving itself most of the 550 miles from California, Audi showcased upcoming technologies at a packed press conference Monday.

"Customers have told us technology is the reason they purchase an Audi," Scott Keogh, Audi of America president, said at the opening of the conference.

Among the developments:

The Prologue concept car, which was unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November and will form the aesthetic and technological foundation for the entire Audi lineup, was upgraded for semiautonomous operation with Audi's zFAS driver assistance controller (also used on the A7's demonstration drive).

The controller uploads data collected from the car's radar, cameras and laser sensors to the Cloud, where the data is analyzed by computers using algorithms and artificial intelligence and sent back to the car in real time, which the controller uses to enhance the car's self-driving capabilities. 

"This is the first car in the world which is so intelligent that it increases its knowledge, permanently, with every mile it drives," Ricky Hudi, Audi's head of electronics, said.

The new Q7 SUV, which will debut later this year, will be equipped with 4G LTE connectivity from Qualcomm, which turns the vehicle into a roving WiFi hotspot capable of downloading multiple streams of data simultaneously. The system will be able to access Google Earth and Streetview, and will be Audi's first car with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, which enable drivers and passengers to control iOS and Android mobile devices through the Q7's infotainment screen when plugged into the car's USB port. 

German auto manufacturers in particular are wary of ceding too much access to third party tech providers such as Apple and Google. With the Q7, Audi will install its own proprietary tablets for rear-seat infotainment that are built to auto standards for crash resistance and extreme heat and cold. The tablets will run dedicated Audi apps as well as those accessed through CarPlay and Android Auto.

Finally, look for a fully virtual dashboard with 3D graphics powered by Audi partner NVDIA, as well as 3D sound systems from Bang & Olufsen and Bose in the new Q7.