Audi unveil 'sixth sense' augmented reality in the Q4 e-tron
Ah, this is getting serious
Remember when cars were all about mechanical components and analogue features? Yup. That was then, this is now, and now what we're getting is tech, a lot of tech. Audi unveiled the latest tech geek-friendly feature in the new Q4 E-Tron, a 'sixth sense' augmented reality head-up display. They call it Car-To-X connectivity.
Unlike VR (Virtual Reality), which simulates three-dimensional environments that you can interact with in a seemingly physical way; AR (augmented reality) uses technology to enhance existing and concrete elements of your surroundings to (in this case) transmit and relay information. Application-wise, you're mostly going to use it for safety features.
Usable data and information will be projected on the tarmac ahead of you to make sure it doesn't impede your (physical) view of the road. The car can, for example, help you visualize a potential obstacle before the human eye can see it.
The information will be available for the driver through the head-up display and the 11.6-inch (haptic) touchscreen. These things scare me and fascinate me at the same time. I once had the opportunity to test drive a 'thermal-enhanced' Lexus in LA and the experience was mind-blowing because it used radars and lidars. The lidar, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is basically a clever radar that uses bolt light and pulsed lasers to measure things like range, distance, temperature, etc.
The lidar detects obstacles but it also provides information as to what these obstacles might be. If you're driving at night and it's pitch-black, for example, the lidar can detect a living being on the other side of the road, potentially miles ahead, and tell you whether it's a human being or an animal based on temperature, size and other factors. Crazy stuff.
The problem with tech is that on a purely visceral level we hate it, but then we get used it and it becomes addictive. Think about the million features in your phone you sworn you'd never use. But now we do. But it's alright. I mean, it's just cars.