At CES Asia, Audi was showing-off a brand new app for the world's most-wanted wearable.
Although MMI Connect already exists for iPhone, the Apple Watch version will bring your smartwatch and Audi motor much closer together.
We’ve already had a sighting of an Audi smartwatch this year, powered by LG’s webOS operating system. But, this is the first time we’ve see Audi and Apple Watch mentioned in the same sentence.
The whole process begins by registering your iPhone and Apple Watch with your new car. This powers-up your smartwatch, unlocking a number of clever features.
Firstly, there’s no longer any need to fish around in your pocket for car keys. Once paired, you can lock or unlock your car with a simple press of the Apple Watch’s tiny touchscreen.
You can also monitor your car’s mileage and the amount of fuel left in your tank (or battery life, if you’re running an e-tron Audi). You can even track down your car’s location within a certain radius and bring it up on the watch - perfect for airport carparks. “Wearables is a movement in the market which we are supporting," said Ricky Hudi, Audi’s Head of Electronics. MMI Connect for the Apple Watch is scheduled to hit the app store in 2016, to coincide with the launch of the latest generations of Audi A6 and A7 saloon.
In an interview with Stuff, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s Head of Technical Development gave another possible scenario where a wearable and the car could work together for the benefit of the driver or a passenger, "if the wearable is able to measure some of the conditions of the driver, such as sweat, it could communicate with the car’s climate control system - maybe it’s a watch, maybe it’s underwear.” Connected boxer shorts? Now there’s a thought…
The German giant also used CES Asia as an opportunity to showcase a self-driving concept of its electronic R8 supercar and a gesture-controlled version of its new Tablet.
The new R8 e-tron was officially launched in March, but Audi kitted one out with self-driving tech at the show.
The electric supercar hits 62mph in 3.9 seconds and features new lithium-ion battery technology, which allows for a battery capacity of around 92kWh. Range is over 275 miles from a single, two-hour charge. The piloted version of the car features sensors, cameras and scanners that deliver data on the car’s surroundings to an onboard computer.
The Audi tablet is already available alongside the latest generation Q7 SUV. It’s powered by Android and uses a 10in high-definition display to show real-time car data and give passengers access to the car’s infotainment system.
At the show, Audi had a gesture-controlled camera mounted to the bottom of one of the tablets, so users could swipe, pinch and wave their way through menus, music and maps.
Let’s just say the experience wasn’t up to Xbox Kinect standards. But there’s plenty of time to tweak before it rolls out into production, the timescale for which is still TBC.