Audi connects to Baidu, Huawei at CES Asia

May 22, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
During the first Consumer Electronics Show in Asia which will take place from May 25 to 27 in Shanghai, carmaker Audi will drive journalists through the notoriously chaotic traffic of the city – in a self-driving vehicle. The technology carrier for the show will be cramped with the latest infotainment. To ensure constant internet connectivity, the German carmaker announced collaborations with Chinese search engine operator Baidu and telecommunications equipment provider Huawei.

The carmaker’s CES Asia display will focus on Audi Connect, the company’s in-car connectivity hub which features an LTE modem. For the Asian market, Audi along with Huawei has developed a specific LTE module that enables passengers to connect their mobile devices wirelessly to the hub which in turn connects to the mobile radio network and the internet. The modem supports the latest LTE flavours like TDD-LTE (Time Division Dultiplexing) used by China Mobile as well as FDD-LTE (Frequency Division Duplexing). The modem will be offered by Audi in China, Japan and Korea.

Audi Connect gives the driver access to online services tailor-made for Chinese users that he can use safely without the need to operate his smartphone manually. Smartphones can be integrated to the car by means of Baidu CarLife, a software similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Baidu Car Life supports both worlds, Android as well as iOS.

The cooperation with Baidu includes the integration of CarLife as well as the joint development of digital maps, point-of-interest functions and the related algorithms. The software will enable users to transfer destination data from a computer or smartphone into the car.

The car at CES Asia is also equipped with the Audi Phone Box that couples the smartphone to the infotainment system and charges the phone’s batteries wirelessly.

Another innovation is the Audi tablet that has been developed and optimised for in-car use. The tablet connects automatically with Audi’s MMI Navigation plus infotainment/navigation system and can also be used outside the vehicle. The pre-installed software package for China includes Baidu’s web browser and app store. The tablet can be operated by means of gesture controls.

The vehicle used for the piloted ride across the city on a distance of some 15 km will be an A7. The vehicle contains a further developed version of the automated driving software already used at the recent CES when an Audi sedan drove