With premium cars coming loaded with an ever-increasing array of convenient gadgets, carmakers are having to come up with new and inventive ways of outdoing each other with their latest models.
True to its ‘progress through technology’ mantra, Audi is aiming to take the hassle out of parking, with two new systems: Audi connect wireless payment and Audi piloted parking.
The first could see an end to the hassle of incorrect change and lost parking tickets, by allowing automatic entry and payment into car parks.
Audi connect wireless payment works via a wireless transponder – similar to that found in Transport for London’s Oyster card – fitted to the inside of the windscreen. Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, an individual car can be identified and the barriers at car park entrances automatically raised.
Currently, the project is being trialled using 13,000 Audi employee cars in the company’s hometown of Ingolstadt. It is being run in conjunction with a local economic development agency, which operates nine car parks in the city. All participants receive a monthly bill for usage, which can be paid automatically by direct debit.
Audi is hoping to make the system available to customers as early as the end of this year. It is likely to make an appearance as part of the optional Connect package, which already includes internet services such as Google Earth, Google Street View, local fuel prices, news and weather, all beamed straight to the dashboard.
Audi is further trying to ease the pain of parking your car with piloted parking. First unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, the system relies on a wireless connection between the car and the car park itself and – when fully up and running – will mean drivers can enter a car park and the car will find an empty parking space and park itself all without intervention.
It’s still in the prototype stage at the moment, but eventually owners will be able to manage their car’s parking via a smartphone app – the user interface for a system utilising a complex system of wireless networks and laser sensors.
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