Audi is broadening its range of online services with the new Audi connect offerings myCarManager and myService. These allow the customer to control specific functions remotely by smartphone or arrange a service appointment online, for example. The new services bring enhanced convenience and security, and are available immediately for the Audi Q7 and the new A4 model line.
The latest version of the “Audi MMI connect” smartphone app now also includes vehicle-specific services such as myCarManager. Owners of the new Q7 and A4 can use their smartphones to lock and unlock the doors, operate the optional auxiliary heating and view an up-to-date status report of their car. They can also check where the car is currently parked and how long it has been there. The app can now also be operated using an Apple smartwatch.
A status report enables the owner to call up various up-to-date car information on their mobile phone. This includes the status of the windows and doors (i.e. open/closed), the distance reading, the fuel level in the tank and the car’s operating range, service information, engine oil level and any warning messages.
The Car Finder function comes into its own when the car is left parked in a city: With its help, drivers can be guided straight back to their Audi. They can also see how long the car has been parked in its current location. The “Auxiliary Heating” menu item allows remote starting and stopping of the optional auxiliary heating, selection of two different intensity levels and timer programming.
For the new services, Audi focused heavily on data security. Communication never passes directly between the smartphone and the car; there is always the firewall of a secure Audi server in between. The system responds in a variety of ways depending on the type of query. For the status report, the car sends the current data to the Audi server, where the customer can access it at any time using their smartphone. The data is encrypted using the current TLS 1.2‑standard.
Strict security rules likewise apply to the locking and unlocking of the doors: Additional authentication takes place between the Audi server and the car before the action is performed. Conversely, this means the car would not respond to a command from an unauthorized third-party server.
An extra PIN must be input via the smartphone to enable the remote actions to be carried out. The customer chooses this PIN themselves in the myAudi portal. They can also grant access rights to a maximum of five people and manage up to five different automobiles from a single account.
As well as myCarManager, there are also the new myService features: emergency call, online roadside assistance and Audi service request. The emergency call is activated automatically after an accident if a restraint system such as an airbag has been triggered. The car establishes a voice and data connection with the Audi Emergency Call Center and supplies important data such as the GPS coordinates, direction of travel and number of occupants.
Over a voice connection, a specially trained service employee attempts to obtain further details from the driver and passengers in their native language so that arrangements for the best form of assistance can be set in motion without delay. If the accident victims are not capable of voice communication, the service employee contacts the rescue coordination center which dispatches an emergency ambulance to the accident scene straight away. The driver or front passenger can also activate the emergency call manually using a switch in the roof module. The control unit fitted remains capable of establishing a voice connection with the Audi Service Center even if the car’s power supply has failed. When a roadside assistance call comes in, the Audi Service Center is again sent the position and the relevant data on the car’s status automatically.
With the Audi service request function, two weeks before servicing is due the car sends service-related data to the service partner. This is the partner that the customer has previously specified in the myAudi portal. The workshop can now contact the customer to arrange their upcoming appointment.
There is no extra charge for the services in Germany and most European countries for a period of ten years from the date of delivery.
The optional Audi connect safety & service equipment package is available with immediate effect for all new Audi Q7 and A4 models at a one-off price of €250 (US$280). The new version of the Audi MMI connect app is available to download free of charge in the online portal myAudi and on the Apple and Google store platforms.
The data and voice connection for the services is established via a mobile communications module with built-in SIM card; this module is quite distinct from the one used for everyday mobile communications by the customer. The costs arising for data and voice connections are included in the package price. Two buttons in the roof module for emergency and roadside assistance calls are also part of the package.