Audi is bringing in major updates to their MMI infotainment system.
The new infotainment system, called MMI Touch Response, has done away with the rotary dial found on the previous version; there are now two displays instead of one. The top 10.1-inch main screen handles navigation, media and most of the car’s settings and the new, smaller 8.6-inch display takes care of climate controls, text input and shortcuts. The setup is a leap forward for Audi’s in-car tech. That is, if you’re a fan of digital climate controls.
When you do need to input letters into the new system, the lower screen becomes a giant tablet. Even better, the new MMI lets you quickly write out the letters in sequence and it keeps up. Just write the letters over one another and you got yourself a word.
It’s a bit like when everyone got excited about Apple’s Force Touch glass track-pad? Audi’s basically done that for cars.
The automaker has moved the most used items to the left-hand side of the screen: Navigation, home screen, media, phone and radio. They’re available via a single tap that doesn’t require you to stretch to the far side of the display.
Another feature is that when you tap and hold on the temperature, you can then swipe up and down to adjust it. The Velar has the same feature and its slick while also being useful.
There’s a plethora of other updates and new features. Voice control now supports natural language and can find places (like Starbucks) along your route. The climate control display also doubles as a shortcut area for places, people, media and other items you use a lot.
It’s a smart update and further evidence that automakers are serious about taking control of the in-car experience. While Apple and Google are making incremental updates to CarPlay and Android Auto, automakers are investing heavily in trying to surpass those systems.
Not only is this important for how we drive now, but it’s paramount for the future where we’re relegated to being passengers in self-driving taxis or our own autonomous vehicles. Those robot cars are a ways off, but it’s important to lay the foundation now. Audi is joining a host of other automakers planning for the future because eventually, what’s in the dash will be more important than what’s under the hood.