by Mathias Halliger

The exponential rise in computing power in cars is improving safety while giving drivers more control than ever over their experience behind the wheel.

NVIDIA and Audi are harnessing this potential with the Audi third-generation multimedia interface, or 3G MMI, which employs a leading-edge NVIDIA graphics processor to better provide key data and media that drivers demand on their journeys. NVIDIA announced on the first day of the International Consumer Electronics Show that its processors will be used in all Audi models featuring 3G MMI technology in 2010.

Audi dashboard

The Audi 3G MMI system makes it far easier for drivers to use input destination commands by voice or searching for mobile phone contacts — reducing the need to focus on a screen. When a screen is needed, the 3G MMI system utilizes advanced NVIDIA technology to provide high-quality 3D graphics, which make it easier to identify the surroundings of a destination and points of interest. The system also provides significantly more visual information, rather than text information so it’s easier to understand at a glance.

Most importantly, it allows those functions to be seamlessly integrated into the car, so that it’s more intuitive for drivers to find what they need and have it displayed in a way that doesn’t distract from their focus on the road.

Audi console - Tegra

Coming this fall, Audi will take the practical safety benefits of this technology to another level with the next-generation Audi A8 flagship sedan. The 2011 A8 features an Audi-exclusive touchpad that allows motorists to use their finger to trace letters and numbers, enabling them to search for a destination while keeping their eyes on the road.

The new 3G MMI navigation plus system in the Audi A8 will also enable the integration of Google Earth mapping and destination search. This addition under consideration for the U.S. market will provide the most up-to-date Internet-driven navigation maps available in the industry – an advance that reduces motorist confusion while driving to a destination.

Audi and NVIDIA - Navigation

Engineers from both Audi and NVIDIA are continuing to work on deepening the ties between Silicon Valley innovation and German engineering to deliver safer driving experiences.

In addition, the next generation NVIDIA Tegra ultra low-power HD mobile processors will drive the advanced entertainment and navigation systems in Audi vehicles starting in 2012-2013. Next-generation NVIDIA Tegra processors are architected to deliver rich 3D visuals, unmatched multimedia and a complete web experience on a variety of devices.