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Old 05-21-2020, 05:30 AM   #4
AVANTI R5
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Default Big Changes For Audi’s Infotainment System Coming In 2021




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Audi announced that its outfitting many of its 2021 models with a faster and more powerful infotainment system.

The new Modular Infotainment Toolkit 3 will introduce new features and capabilities for a wide range of 2021 vehicles, including the Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, and A8. In crossovers, buyers will be able to find MIB 3 in the Audi Q3 (late arrival), Q5, Q7 and Q8, with other models to be announced at a later date.

The new platform brings new and extended features, including HD voice communication, monthly rather than quarterly map updates, hybrid digital radio, and after-sales purchases of features, such as a navigation. Although no other options have been announced for the upcoming marketplace, an Audi spokesperson said examples of add-on features could include lighting design upgrades.

For some buyers, the highlight of the upgrade will be the on-demand programming available on SirusXM with 360L. Current satellite radio is curated by the satellite radio channels in a linear schedule. Miss the popular Howard Stern broadcast or big game on your drive home, and you’ll have to wait for a recap or replay. However, with 360L, you’ll be able to stream your favorite entertainment content from anywhere. That is, as long as you have cellular connection available in your car.

Audi will be using Verizon’s 4G LTE network for its cellular connectivity in vehicles equipped with MIB-3. Most major automotive manufacturers use AT&T T for their 4G LTE modems and connectivity features. However, with 2.68 million square miles of 4g coverage, Verizon claims 15% more coverage than its closest competitor.

Verizon’s 4G LTE network offers the speed, performance, and bits per hertz rates needed to deliver streaming content for SiriusXM’s 360L service. It will also power in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspots with connection for up to eight devices and download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (depending on the communication subscription plan).

But perhaps the biggest change for Audi’s infotainment system is the operating system. To power the new electronics system, Audi made the switch from BlackBerry’s QNX to Automotive Grade Linux.

QNX provides the building blocks for the infotainment system found in the millions of passener vehicles. The BlackBerry subsidiary licenses its electronics platform technology to automotive manufacturers, which can range between $1 to $5 per vehicle installation. But many major automotive manufacturers have joined an open-source consortium to collectively develop a Linux-based infotainment system. By switching to Automotive Grade Linux, brands can save tens of millions of dollars and reap the benefits of the growing community of automotive developers.

Last year parent company Volkswagen AG announced it was building a new electronics platform to be used by its brands, and shifted its Car.Software program to Audi’s control. MIB-3 could be the start of this switch to a unified technology platform.

This bodes well for Automotive Grade Linux. The open-source consortium has been a dark horse in the infotainment space that is dominated by QNX with Google GOOGL ’s Android Automotive closing in.

“Overall, we are seeing growing interest from automotive OEMs to embrace Automotive Grade Linux or Android Automotive for their next-generation Infotainment operating systems largely due to growing developer and ecosystem support. Toyota was the initial champion, but AGL has steadily generated interest for multiple suitors beyond Japan,” said Jeffrey Hannah, Director of North America for automotive technology research firm SBD Automotive.

In 2019, VW delivered 10,974,636 vehicles. Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, the company forecast its 2020 vehicle deliveries to be “in line” with last year’s figures, and revenue to grow by up to 4%. However, with most buyers sidelined by the pandemic and a recession in the works, those prospects have been slashed, and shaving costs will become more important to boosting the bottom line that produced an operating profit of €19.3 ($17.1 U.S.) billion last year.

But this shift towards open-source should be easily weathered by QNX, which also is a strong leader the advanced driver-assistance systems industry.

“Beyond a strategic partnership with Ford for its SYNC line-up, QNX has slightly pivoted to an attractive business model with a greater focus on software for ADAS, autonomous, OTA, telematics, cluster, as well as differentiating itself in the market via a highly-secure and functional safety-ready RTOS. They are definitely not going away,” added Hannah.
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