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Audi Unveils a Smartwatch That Can Control Your Car

Posted March 10, 2015 9:50 AM by Jordan Perch

Audi has ramped up efforts for developing autonomous car technology lately, testing several self-driving car prototypes over the past few years, and has demonstrated its commitment to making automated driving a reality on several occasions. Along with automated vehicle systems, the German car maker is working on technology that would enable seamless communication between driverless cars and their owners. To this end, they have developed a smart device that can be used to control various systems of a self-driving car.

The company unveiled a smartwatch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which was developed in collaboration with South Korean electronics company LG, and is imagined as a perfect complement for the German manufacturers autonomous vehicles it intends to bring to the market in the future. It is part of the Smartwatch Audi Collection, and is thought to be loosely based on the G Watch R, which LG released a while ago. Audi demonstrated how the smartwatch works with the help of its A7 driverless prototype - a four-door coupe that can accelerate, brake, and change lanes on its own.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, who conducted the presentation, didn't release too many details on the smartwatch's functions, but he did uncover the basic and perhaps most valuable one - the ability to lock and unlock the car remotely. It's a pretty convenient feature, albeit not nearly enough for a company to develop such a device, considering that it would make much more sense to add that kind of feature to an existing smartphone, rather than launching an entirely new product.

With this smartwach, that will likely be able to connect to all smartphones that run on the latest Android OS, an Audi owner will be able to lock and unlock their car's doors without having to be anywhere near it, and will probably not have to use a traditional car key anymore. The device interacts with the car through Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which allows it to lock and unlock the doors even if its battery is empty. It uses push notifications to let you know when you have left the car without locking it, so you can just press a button on it in order to lock the doors, without having to go back to the car to do it.

In addition to the lock and unlock feature, the smartwach can be used as a phone, as well, as it comes with a text messaging app and a dialer. Also, users will be able to send and receive emails with it, and turn the car's air conditioning on and off. This means that you could change the temperature inside your car before entering it, so that when you get in, it is nice and warm, or cool, depending on your preferences and what time of year it is, without having to turn the engine on.

This does make the device seem pretty simple and not too sophisticated, but considering that it has the potential to enable remote control of a vehicle's most important systems, it can be regarded as a pretty innovative product. It's only a prototype at the moment, and Audi is expected to integrate many more features into it, that could include location tracking or car maintenance apps, along with information on traffic and road conditions in real time.

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Re: Audi Unveils a Smartwatch That Can Control Your Car

03/11/2015 1:07 AM

Will it alert the driver(car alarm) if someone try to tamper with the vehicle?.

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Re: Audi Unveils a Smartwatch That Can Control Your Car

03/11/2015 5:30 AM

Sounds something like the current keyless car entry systems which have proved to be so easy for car thieves to overcome.

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