Game-changing tech coming to your car
YOUR next car could find the cheapest petrol, hunt out a parking space, dob in teenagers who break the rules and call an ambulance following a crash.
Audi's Connect Plus suite will do all of the above, and it comes as standard in the new A6.
In-car connectivity is a key battleground for car companies looking to find an edge over rivals.
The latest Mercedes-Benz models learn your habits and routines, Tesla has promised to put Netflix into its new models and BMW is one of several brands to put Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant behind the dashboard.
But Audi reckons Connect Plus is the best.
High-res imagery from Google give its maps an advantage over the competition, and clever ties to third-party data sources make it smarter than most.
Search for a car park in it will tell you not only the address of the nearest complex, but how many spaces are available, how much it costs and when the facility closes.
Hungry? Food options are accompanied by images, reviews and other key details.
When the fuel light comes on, the car will show you the price of petrol at nearby stations, giving you an opportunity to save money.
If a family member borrows the car, you can set alerts to see if they leave approved areas or exceed the speed limit.
The car will automatically call a third-party emergency centre following a crash, wirelessly informing them of how many people were on board, which airbags deployed, and the exact location of the car along with a description of its colour and body style so police, fire or ambulance crews know how to render assistance.
Audi isn't the first brand to offer an "SOS" emergency feature in the car, but it is the first to go into that level of detail.
Audi Australia managing director Paul Sansom says the technology will be rolled out in new models including the A6 sedan, which is on sale now from $95,900 plus on-road costs. Cheaper cars such as the new Q3 crossover should make some of the features available for less than $50,000.
Audi's place in the Volkswagen Group might mean the technology will trickle down to more affordable models such as the VW Golf or Polo.
"Our team has worked hard to bring this advanced suite of services to Australia for almost five years, after a testing, evaluation and adaptation program for our local market," Sansom says.
"The potential for this technology to evolve the way owners use their vehicles is game-changing, and so as a result, the majority of our new models in the future will have Audi connect plus as a standard feature when it's available."
The tech is made possible by a Telstra 4G SIM card in the dashboard. Three years of data is included in the plan, and Audi has not decided how much to charge customers after that.
Next-gen models will be able to communicate with traffic lights, telling drivers when to expect the lights to go green, and tell other cars about road hazards such as pot holes or slippery surfaces.