That’s a Pond, Moron: Next-Gen Audi Nav System Will Help Keep You from Drowning Yourself in Your Car
As smart as modern navigation systems are, they can’t prevent people from mindlessly following the given directions and driving into, say, a lake. But Audi’s brightest minds, combined with those of four universities and the company’s own Silicon Valley labs, may have the solution for these dimmest of drivers: Audi Driver Centric Urban Navigation.
The automaker says its next-generation MMI infotainment system will incorporate navigation functionality that uses “naturalistic guidance,” which is to say directions given via by landmarks and visual clues instead of sometimes hard-to-spot street names. While commands like “Don’t turn down that boat ramp! This is an A6, not a Chris-Craft—are you that stupid?” could theoretically be programmed in, Audi said its system will instead speak kinder, gentler phrases such as “Please turn left at the park.”
Audi drivers may not have to circle around the block anymore, either. Models with Audi Connect internet connectivity can already route drivers to open parking spaces via a real-time database of garages in select cities, but Audi says it eventually will track the driver’s parking “habits” and show open metered spaces on the street. Via a synced smartphone app, the system can also tell the driver when to leave the house to avoid congestion, and, like Mercedes’ mbrace2 setup, provide “seamless navigation” via walking directions to a final destination.
Yet another feature claims to predict future traffic patterns using past and current traffic, weather, and reported accidents and road closures as guides. (Chrysler offers a similar feature on certain models with Uconnect, but we’re about as convinced of its accuracy as we are of a typical meteorologist’s.)
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For travel on open roads, Audi will expand its blind-spot monitoring system. One new feature is Lane Change Assist, which scans for faster cars coming from behind and potential obstacles ahead, and illuminates a green light on the side mirror when it’s safe to hop over. Merge Assist works in a similar fashion. And while Audi is very late to introduce drowsy driver systems—even Ford offers the tech—the new Attention Guard will flash warning signals to a sleepy driver to tell him or her to pull over for amphetamines a nap.
Some of the aforementioned new features could be installed on current models through a wireless update, as the hardware already exists. (Audi already did this last summer with the parking-spot finder but.) Yet others will require the installation of new hardware to support their functionality. Audi hasn’t specified launch dates for any of it, so you’re going to have to watch your own hide for a little while longer.