Audi is previewing the future of in-car display technology at CES 2020.
Unsurprisingly, autonomous technology and electric concepts are common themes at the 2020 CES tech show in Las Vegas. Mercedes-Benz presented the radical Vision AVTR Concept that looks like it belongs in a science fiction movie, while electronics giant Sony surprised attendees by revealing the Vision-S, the company's first-ever autonomous electric concept car. Audi, on the other hand, is taking a relatively more down-to-earth approach on things.
The Ingolstadt, Germany-based company is showcasing new display concepts with smart technologies dubbed "Display on demand – transparent" and the "Audi 3D mixed reality head-up display." Sure, it's a mouth full, but just wait until you understand what that all means.
The revolutionary technology utilizes a transparent display measuring 5.9 inches tall and 48 inches wide that extends along the entire width of the dashboard and is partially embedded in the instrument panel. When watching a movie, the display can be extended upward by up to 10 inches, allowing passengers to enjoy their movie in a widescreen 16:9 format.
The user interface only displays information the user currently needs, ranging from navigation information or communication and infotainment content. This information is displayed on display segments that are partially transparent or shaded in black, which increases the contrast of the display considerably.
Current transparent displays in consumer electronics, on the other hand, cannot display deep blacks. To rectify this, Audi has integrated two layers in its futuristic display. One is a transparent OLED display and the second includes an additional black layer that creates a particularly deep black. Sections of the display that aren't needed remain completely transparent, providing an unobstructed view of the road while also reducing motion sickness. The display is operated via a touch pad, which is also transparent and located in the center console.
Developed in partnership with Samsung, the Audi 3D mixed reality head-up display seemingly operates like a traditional HUD and is installed in the instrument panel, and images are projected onto the windshield using lenses and mirrors - a familiar technique. Except this system works like a 3D television, displaying two images of each picture for each eye. Furthermore, an eye-tracking camera detects the position of the user's eyes, and then guides the pixels in different directions accordingly.
Images from the Audi 3D mixed reality head-up display shown to the driver appear to be floating at a distance from around 26 to 229 feet ahead, preventing the need for the eyes to refocus. The 3D technology can mark real objects directly in the picture and generate a realistic impression of spacial depth, such as a navigation arrow that points exactly into the side of a road where the destination is located.
Also on display at the automaker's stand is the Audi AI:ME autonomous city car concept, which first debuted at 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. Audi describes the AI:ME as a "third living space," alongside our homes and workplaces that can learn the desires and needs of its users. For example, passengers can use eye tracking to communicate with the car and have it order their favorite food. To help passengers relax, a pair of VR goggles in the car allows occupants to enjoy a virtual flight across a mountain landscape. These functions will be showcased at the CES show.
Also on display will is "Intelligent Experience" self-learning navigation system, which is already integrated in the current generation of the MMI systems. It can save preferred destinations and connects them with the date, time and current traffic situation to suggest routes from this data. In the future, Audi says this system will be able to precisely analyze a user's preferred functions and settings including the seat position, media, route guidance, temperature, and even the interior fragrance. These settings will then be applied autonomously. Visitors at CES 2020 can experience the Audi Intelligence Experience in a prototype. The Audi Q4 e-tron concept and E-Tron Sportback are also being showcased at the technology event.