Safety’s in front for Audi
HI-tech safety features have again won awards for Audi.
The German manufacturer has received its second Euro New Car Assessment Program advanced award, this time for its ‘‘Pre-Sense front plus’’ technology.
Its first Euro NCAP advanced award was for its side-assist system, available in the current model A4.
Pre-Sense front plus has two long-range radars on the front of the car, which help to avoid or mitigate rear-ender crashes.
In Europe, it is available as an option in the A6, while in Australia it has been available in the A8 since its launch as part of an option package worth $9080.
The package includes adaptive cruise control that works down to 0km/h and lane assist that actively keeps the car in its lane.
Audi spokesman Shaun Cleary says that take-up of the option package is about 10 per cent.
Audi is also working on a new digital rearview mirror that will give a clear and safe image even in low-light situations such as night, fog or rain when tyre spray obscures the driver’s vision of the road. It is being tested in the Le Mans 24 Hours next month in the Audi R18 LMP sports prototype, which does not have a rear window.
Cleary says that the mirror is a joint project between Audi AG’s technical department and Audi Motorsport and there is no timeframe for it to be introduced to production cars.
Audi Motorsport boss Wolfgang Ullrich says the system uses a tiny roofmounted camera that transmits the information as digitalised data.
‘‘This gives us a whole host of benefits,’’ Ullrich says. ‘‘The operation of the mirror is weather-neutral.
‘‘By contrast, when using outside mirrors, heavy water spray severely impairs the driver’s field of vision when it rains.
‘‘For the new digital mirror, we worked out various day and night driving modes. Even when a rival approaches from the rear with high-beam headlights the image is superb and not just a glaring light spot.’’
Instead of conventional light-emitting diodes, it uses an active matrix OLED (AMOLED) display, which can show multi-coloured images and also offer better resolution, thanks to smaller pixels of about 0.1mm in diameter.
‘‘Therefore, even at 330km/h, we’re achieving a totally fluid image flow in real-time transmission,’’ Ullrich says.
‘‘The system was initially installed in an Audi R8 in which we sent Marcel Fassler and Marco Bonanomi out to test it in road traffic.
‘‘Today, the system functions perfectly in the Audi R18 LMP race car. I’m sure that we’ll be able to return valuable findings to our colleagues in TE.
‘‘We integrated the system into the vehicle package in an extremely small space and reduced the aerodynamic effects of the camera and energy consumption to a minimum.
‘‘The intensity of the demands in motorsport, such as at the Le Mans 24 Hours, will cause such a system to mature at an accelerated pace,’’ Ullrich says.
‘‘If the digital rearview mirror is introduced in production vehicles at a future time, our consumers will yet again profit from a system that has been successfully tested in motorsport as well.’’
Audi is making its name beyond luxury, accruing accolades for its safety features