In-Car Tech

Everything you need to know about Audi's third-gen MIB infotainment system

Audi has introduced the next-generation of its infotainment system.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has announced that the third generation of its infotainment system (MIB 3) will arrive in most 2021 vehicles starting this autumn. The biggest upgrades are to the hardware, which includes a chipset that is 10 times faster than the MIB 2 technology, but there's a significant number of new features users will want to know about.

Verizon has become Audi's wireless internet provider.

If you want to use your car's Wi-Fi hot spot to surf the web, you'll need to have a data plan through Verizon. No other provider is available. If you already have a plan through Verizon, you may be able to amend your plan to include the addition of the vehicle hot spot rather than setting up a separate account.

The new LTE Advanced Pro modem is rated for up to 1 Gbps download speed. 

The new modem allows for gigabit internet. That means that the hardware is capable of transmitting and receiving up to 1 gigabyte (GB) of data every second. Consider that the average portable Verizon Wi-Fi hot spot is capable of speeds of just 600 mbps, that's 60-percent of the capability of the new modem.

MIB 3 runs on a new Linux-based operating system.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Linux is the foundation for many operating systems. Subaru adopted automotive grade Linux for its 2020 Outback and Legacy, the first models in the company's lineup to feature tablet-style infotainment screens.

Up to eight devices can be connected.

While some early mobile hot spots could connect one, two, three, or four devices, the newest models can link to eight or more. The newest offering from Audi allows for up to eight devices to connect at once. It's important to remember that, like your home modem, that the more devices that are connected at the same time, the more divided up the bandwidth, slowing the connection speed for each device.

A variety of bandwidth options are available.

In-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots are available to be activated in a variety of bandwidth options. There’s the Care base level, and a mid grade Prime package. The Prime package is optimized for audio streaming and remote working applications, meaning its bandwidth is a percentage of the modem's full capability. Upping to the Plus package allows customers to take advantage of the full bandwidth capability.

It has high-definition voice communication technology.

With the new high-high-definiition voice communication technology, the system is able to understand more nuanced, conversational, and natural speech.

SiriusXM with 360L has been added.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Ram was the first to debut SiriusXM with 360L but its time as the only automaker with the technology is up. For the 2021 model year, most models will have the tech as available or standard. The new SiriusXM offering expands the listening experience of the SiriusXM satellite radio system, adding more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content including exclusive interviews, live and in-studio concerts and smart "For You" content recommendations.

According to Audi, "'For You' allows listeners to easily discover more content based on their listening habits. For college and professional sports events, SiriusXM with 360L allows the listener to easily find the game he or she may want and, in most cases, choose between home and away broadcasts. Individual vehicle profiles allow multiple drivers and passengers to customize and maintain their own vehicle favorites."

The new MyAudi app has a digital storefront.

Audi has improved the MyAudi app to offer several key improvements. The marketplace now gives owners the ability to purchase in-car features and new, more flexible subscription plans.

The app also allows for a more simplified registration and payment process for Audi connect Care, Prime, and Plus subscriptions.

Function on Demand gives navigation now with plans to add more functionality in the future.

Function on Demand gives Audi owners the ability to purchase vehicle functions through the MyAudi marketplace. Navigation can be purchased for 2020 and 2021 A4 and A5 Premium or Premium Plus models not factory-equipped. Additional features are expected to be announced at a later date.

Maps are updated monthly.

In the previous generation of Audi infotainment systems, the navigation system maps would be updated quarterly. In the MIB3 system, the maps will be updated monthly in Audi models equipped with navigation.

Amazon Alexa is more widely available.

Audi introduced Amazon Alexa in the 2019 Audi E-Tron and has expanded it throughout their SUV and car lineup. The new system will include Amazon Alexa and further expand the technology into the Audi model line.

There's new hybrid digital radio.

Audi MIB 3 infotainment system

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Hybrid digital radio allows listeners to enjoy their favorite terrestrial radio station once they drive out of the signal's

For terrestrial FM or HD FM radio listeners on the go, hybrid digital radio allows them to continue listening to the same channel even after driving outside of the channel's range. Either automatically or by request, once the hybrid radio senses a weak radio signal, it will switch to the online, digital version of the same channel. Conversely, the channel will switch back from a digital to a radio signal when it senses better reception.

Upon cycling a vehicle off and on again, the digital radio station will continue to play.

Availability of the Integrated Toll Module has been expanded.

The mirror-based toll payment solution provides accents to select toll road services across the country, eliminating the need for one of the traditional, large toll responder tags to be mounted to the car's license plate holder or windscreen. The technology was first introduced in the 2019 Audi E-Tron and Q7 and is being added to the Q5, Q8, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8 in 2021.

The list of models expected to receive MIB 3 features includes: Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3 (late arrival), Q5, Q7 and Q8, with other models to be announced at a later date. Pricing and a complete features list will be available at a later date.

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Honda is working with Verizon on self-driving cars technology.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The Mcity campus was designed to be a proving ground for new technologies. Honda and Verizon are utilizing it as such as they partner to explore how Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) can be used to ensure quick and reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles, and pedestrians.

The 5G technology leverages cloud technology to deliver lower latency, a large amount of bandwidth, and improved communication. This communication includes the way that vehicles interact with ther cars, traffic lights, pedestrians and emergency vehicles to improve threat detection and avoid accidents when seconds matter most. That's where the "V2" in acronyms like "V2V" (vehicle-to-vehicle) and "V2X" (vehicle- to-everything).

Honda and Verizon Test How 5G Enhances Safety for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles www.youtube.com

Honda has been working since 2017 to develop a technology that will help to create a collision-free society. The technology, called Safe Swarm, uses V2X communication to enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and share key information such as location, speed, and vehicle sensor data.

There are some obstacles, not the least of which is the need to outfit each vehicle with onboard artificial intelligence capabilities. The use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

"The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights," said Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. "When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94% of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers 'see' things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives."

Three safety scenarios have been explored as part of the testing:

  • Pedestrian Scenario - A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon's MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users assisted by Verizon's Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.
  • Emergency Vehicle Warning Scenari - A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon's MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
  • Red Light Runner Scenario - A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.

You can watch the video of Honda and Verizon's Mcity tests at http://honda.us/5GResearch.

Honda isn't the only company exploring what 5G communication can offer. Pirelli has installed the tech in its tires and BMW recently updated its My BMW app to make it compatible with the new technology. Audi is working on similar technology out on the road in Virginia and Georgia.

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The new Maps+ app will allow drivers to use a navigation system who had not previously purchased navigation.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors is giving its vehicles a new navigation solution. Maps+, an in-vehicle, app-based way-finding program, will begin rolling out to approximately 900,000 model year 2018 and newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles by the end of 2021, starting on April 30.

"We know customers want an easy and convenient in-vehicle experience that improves over time," said Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of Global Connected Services. "We listened to customer feedback and developed a product that works seamlessly with our current infotainment systems and provides a highly personalized experience that will iterate throughout the lifetime of the vehicle."

Maps+ was developed in partnership with Mapbox. The new app replaces navigation functionality in already-purchased vehicles that had purchased a navigation system. It provides navigation functionality to drivers of vehicles that did not opt for navigation at the onset.

The new application features Alexa build-in voice control that allows users to listen to music or podcasts using the system's integrated audio apps. A search box allows users to find points of interest, shops, restaurants, parking, and more. There is also embedded speed alert, low fuel recognition, predictive keyboard entry, day and night modes, category shortcuts, rear-time traffic routing, and dynamic mapping capability.

"Our obsession is the driver," said Peter Sirota, CEO of Mapbox. "The map is the canvas for providing the driver with a delightful, easy-to-use experience. From discovering new places to avoiding traffic on your commute to paying at the pump or the plug, Maps+ lays the foundation for an excellent navigation experience. We are excited to build upon this with GM to continue to drive adoption."

GM and Mapbox are committed to continuing Maps+ post-launch, developing new features and improvements based on feedback and metrics.

Maps+ will be available on select vehicles through Connected Vehicle, Premium and App Access subscription plans. Current eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners will be notified when their vehicle is eligible for Maps+.

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