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Just found some interesting article about Audi connectivity:


Mobile telephony has experienced an unprecedented boom worldwide over the past ten years. The number of mobile phone users has now risen to over one billion worldwide (2004 figure), including 434 million in Europe, 60 million of whom are in Germany. Around 80 percent of Germans now own a mobile phone. The number of mobile phone users is expected to continue rising to approximately 2.5 billion worldwide by 2010, including around 640 million in Europe.

The mobile phone has secured itself a place alongside the landline phone at home and at the workplace as the main means of communication when out and about. Studies confirm that a significant portion of conversations by mobile phone - particularly business calls - is conducted from the car. In Germany, using the phone in the car without a hands-free unit has been prohibited since February 2001 and has carried a 30 euro fine since April 2001. The fine went up to 40 euros in April 2004, plus one penalty point on the central traffic offences records based in Flensburg. Similar laws apply in most other European countries, with drastically higher fines that in some cases are as much as 150 euros. Yet the Flensburg statistics show that German car drivers are continuing to use their mobile phone in the car without a hands-free device, evidently out of sheer convenience or because they do not have a suitable device installed.

This explains the need for offering customers an optimum, flexible hands-free solution. As well as "classic" built-in phones, AUDI AG started offering a built-in hands-free unit in 1996. For reasons of compatibility, it was designed to accept just one specific type of mobile phone. The mobile phone itself and the corresponding adapter holder were supplied together with the car.

In mid-1998 Audi became the first German car manufacturer to launch a universal hands-free unit. The infrastructure needed for hands-free phoning, comprising microphone, loudspeakers, external aerial, control unit and mobile holder, was now already fitted to the car ex works. Various mobile phone adapters for common makes of business mobile phones were offered as Audi Original Accessories. This first-generation system did not yet incorporate remote control functions for the phone, so the mobile phone holder always had to be fitted within view and reach of the driver.


For design reasons, but also to reduce the risk of theft, moves were soon afoot to install the mobile phone in a concealed location, for example in the storage compartment in the centre armrest. However, this necessitated remote control of the main telephone functions required while driving. This was actually a useful development for ergonomic reasons, because the keys on mobile phones were getting gradually smaller and therefore becoming difficult to operate especially while driving a car. Due to a lack of standardisation of mobile phone interfaces, new approaches were adopted in order to provide customers with the desired level of functionality for current mobile phone models.

These requirements inspired the concept for the second generation of universal mobile phone preparations, the aim being to offer customers as flexible a system as possible. AUDI AG took the trailblazing decision to adopt a "hybrid" system. In addition to the connection via the classic wired-up mobile phone interface, wireless Bluetooth technology with the "hands-free profile" for linking up mobile phones was now adopted.

Bluetooth - from idea to success

Bluetooth stands for an open standard that is valid worldwide for wireless close-range communication for voice and data in the licence-exempt 2.4 GHz frequency band. The BluetoothTM Special Interest Group (SIG) has published a comprehensive specification for this. The system makes it possible to establish connections easily and swiftly between a large number of different devices.

The original idea was to create a standardised "cable substitute" between a broad spectrum of mobile devices such as a mobile phone, headphones, computer, laptop or PDA. The aim was to solve the classic problem of device-specific, incompatible interfaces. Even in the mobile phone industry, with its rapid innovation and product development cycles, after the official founding of the BluetoothTM SIG in 1998 it took until the end of 2000 before the first production-ready mobile phone with integrated Bluetooth headset preparation appeared. The first volume-produced business phone with this hands-free profile did not appear on the market until the end of 2001. At the end of 2002 there were then 8 mobile phone platforms, one year later as many as 28, then 78 at the end of 2004 and currently 115 in May 2005, often with several different model versions with a hands-free profile.


Today, the BluetoothTM SIG mentions hands-free use as the application that has helped Bluetooth to achieve a broad-based breakthrough. A recent study found that 120 million Bluetooth chips had been delivered worldwide by the end of 2004 and that 1.2 billion of these chips will have been sold by 2009. It is expected that 80 % of all mobiles will feature Bluetooth technology by 2009. Studies quote the following reasons for this sharp growth: on the one hand the increasing spread of hands-free units as retrofit solutions or ex works, prompted by legislation; on the other hand, growing familiarity of end users with this technology.

AUDI AG has been devoting considerable attention to the new standard since 1999. In order to offer customers a solution with a guaranteed future, the Bluetooth functionality was integrated into the second generation of universal Audi hands-free units. As well as the Bluetooth interface, the existing, conventional "electric" mobile phone interface continues to be supported. This assures maximum compatibility with many business mobile phones.

The innovative concept of the "Universal Bluetooth Mobile Phone Preparation" (UHV) was created in close cooperation with highly specialised suppliers. The UHV supports two network architectures: the A2, A3, A4 and TT are networked via CAN bus, and the A6, Q7 and A8 use the MOST bus.

Since February 2004, Bluetooth has been available in the A2, A3, A4 and TT car lines. Bluetooth also appeared in the new A6 from its launch in April 2004, and in the A8 from November 2004. This innovative hands-free unit is consequently available for all vehicles in the Audi range. The following fundamental hands-free functions are standardised thanks to the UHV:

- Transfer of audio data for hands-free operation
- Answering/rejecting/terminating incoming calls
- Starting/ending outgoing calls
- Handling calls waiting
- Transfer of phone status (calls, network status)

For the full-scale convenient operation that Audi customers were used to even before linking up their mobile phone via an adapter by means of an electrical interface, further functions need to be realised via Bluetooth:

- Transfer of phone books from the SIM card and from the phone memory
- Transfer of call lists with numbers dialled, calls missed and calls answered
- Transfer of network signal strength display, network operator name and roaming indicator

This is why the decision was taken to use additional commands, or attention commands, from the GSM specification. They are supported by a wide range of common business mobile phones from manufacturers such as Nokia, Siemens, SonyEricsson and Motorola that also have a modem interface for data transfer. However, many phones made in the Far East as well as smart phones and multimedia phones do not yet support these extended functions. These additional functions will probably be possible from the end of 2005.

Depending on the vehicle's equipment, the Audi mobile phone preparation has several operating options integrated ergonomically into the vehicle as a whole: on cars that do not have the Audi MMI (Multi Media Interface) the phone can be operated conveniently and ergonomically via the optional multifunction steering wheel and the display in the instrument cluster. There is in addition voice control with the following features: non-speaker-specific input of phone numbers, saving and retrieving of up to 50 speed dials (speaker-specific), and redialling.

The following languages are currently available for the voice control system: German, English, French, Italian and Spanish.

From June 2005, the convenient telephone operation familiar from the Audi MMI of the A6 and A8 will become available as a new feature of the A3 and A4 in conjunction with the optional "navigation system plus". The telephone functions will be integrated wirelessly into the operating logic of the Audi MMI. The main functions are dialling telephone numbers, accessing call lists such as "Dialled Numbers", "Missed Calls" and "Answered Calls", and accessing the phone books of the SIM card and mobile phone.

The UHV is a low-cost alternative to a significantly more expensive built-in phone with scarcely any difference in terms of convenience. The hands-free unit, however, offers the customer the major advantage that they can continue to use their compatible mobile phone. In order to connect up to the GSM vehicle aerial and therefore achieve optimum reception, it is always necessary to insert the phone in a mobile phone adapter set, even in the Bluetooth mode. This recharges the mobile phone's battery at the same time.

The Bluetooth car phone (BTA) - a completely new product

With the market launch of the new Audi Q7, the universal Bluetooth hands-free unit will gain an entirely new product: the Audi Bluetooth car phone. This innovative phone solution offers an unprecedented level of convenience: it will then be possible to leave your phone "in your jacket pocket". It will no longer be necessary to place the mobile phone in an adapter set. The Audi Bluetooth car phone solution will shut down the GSM stage of the mobile phone completely. The mobile phone will thus serve merely as a mobile SIM card reader. No TWIN card or constant juggling of SIM cards, as with a classic built-in phone, will be necessary. The data for authenticating the user will be transmitted via Bluetooth in a secure, encrypted form. The control unit built into the vehicle contains an integral GSM module that establishes an optimum radio connection with the phone network via the vehicle's exterior aerial. The big advantage is that the mobile phone no longer radiates any transmission energy inside the car.

In other words, a connection to the external aerial is no longer needed on the mobile phone. As the mobile phone's power consumption is also significantly reduced thanks to the GSM stage being shut down, the now customary battery capacity means that the mobile phone need not be recharged in the car even on a long journey. Any conventional in-car charging cable can nevertheless be used if desired.

The SIM card's phone book can moreover be accessed, though not contact details saved in the phone itself. However, our developers are already working on the latter aspect and we will have come up with a solution by the end of 2005.

As a further option, up to two wireless Bluetooth handsets can be connected in conjunction with the Audi Bluetooth car phone. These are specially matched to the needs of business users who want to conduct confidential calls while travelling as front or rear passengers. This type of handset has been developed in line with Audi requirements. It represents an ergonomic user interface that is specially matched to the vehicle, as well as outstanding acoustics.

The Bluetooth car phone combines the advantages of a hands-free unit based on the hands-free profile with the optimum integration and performance of a classic built-in phone. In addition to the Audi Q7, the Audi Bluetooth car phone will be available for the Audi A6 and the Audi A8.

Connecting up mobile music players via Bluetooth

The Apple iPod music player has achieved unprecedented sales success in recent months, posting steadily rising sales worldwide. Since market launch, over 10 million players have been delivered worldwide, including 8.2 million in 2004 alone. This has prompted calls both from this device's market and from the market in general to integrate MP3 players into the vehicle, not simply to play music via the vehicle's loudspeakers, but also to control the device's functions via the MMI.

There are various technical options for this integration into the vehicle. Undoubtedly the fastest and most obvious solution would be to connect it up directly to an interface in the vehicle via a device-specific interface.

However, such a solution will mean it is only possible to connect up the devices of one particular manufacturer rather than all portable music players, as the cable-dependent interfaces of the various different MP3 player manufacturers are not standardised. Microsoft's portable players based on the "PlayForSure" concept are strongly backing the USB interface.

There are, however, problems of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and software complexity in integrating it into vehicles. Other devices unfortunately use either their own specific interfaces or do not offer any scope for remote control over and above an analogue connection of the audio signal.

Mobile phone manufacturers are currently pursuing the strategy of integrating MP3 music players into multimedia smart phones. The use of new Bluetooth audio concepts therefore appears to offer a potential solution for the transfer of audio data to the vehicle: the standard of quality it achieves is on a par with high-grade MP3 compression. The first devices featuring this concept came onto the market in 2004.

AUDI AG developed an initial prototype of a Bluetooth audio gateway for the vehicle environment. The vehicle compatibility of the new Bluetooth audio solutions was investigated with this control unit. The following functions are implemented in the prototype:

- Audio reproduction via the vehicle's loudspeakers
- Remote control of the portable audio player with the following commands: Stop, Play, Pause, Next Track, Previous Track, Next Playlist, Previous Playlist

The mobile audio player is operated entirely via the Audi MMI, by means of the menu that is already used by the CD changer and MP3 card reader.

A number of technical hurdles nevertheless remain to be overcome before a solution that is fit for production use is realised: on the one hand the constellation of commands that are currently possible is inadequate for full integration into the MMI. Above all, there is a need for a more convenient way of navigating through the music tracks stored on the mobile device (sorted by playlists, tracks, albums, artists or music styles) and for a means of displaying detailed information about the music track currently playing.

On the other hand, it is necessary to find a solution to the problems posed by pieces of music that are protected by copyright, where the licensor expressly prohibits digital transmission in the licence agreements, as is actually the case with Bluetooth audio streaming. These requirements still need to be included in a future version of the standard by the BluetoothTM SIG, so that there are no longer any obstacles to the full integration of mobile music players in the car.

Standardisation as a key condition of future success

The main problem with the integration of mobile consumer devices such as mobile phones and audio players into the car is that the innovation cycles of vehicles and mobile devices are utterly different. A car is in development for an average of three years, and has a production lifespan of about seven years.

A new product generation of consumer devices, on the other hand, takes only about one year to develop and has a lifespan of only around 6 to 12 months or, in exceptional cases, up to two years. It is therefore absolutely essential to keep these innovation cycles separate. Given the rapid pace of development of the consumer market, it is neither possible nor advisable for a car manufacturer to respond with a specific modification to the hands-free unit every time a new mobile phone appears. The solution chosen by Audi is to use standardised interfaces, in particular Bluetooth, as an element of the Audi electronics strategy.

The BluetoothTM SIG already assures the fundamental compatibility of Bluetooth devices through its certification programme. There are currently around 2,200 devices and device components with Bluetooth capability. However, the BluetoothTM SIG certification process covers only the principal functions. Further tests are left to the device manufacturer to perform on a voluntary basis. The quality requirements of the car industry are nevertheless much more rigorous than those of the consumer goods industry, above all in respect of stability, including under stress loads, and in respect of faults. It is therefore unavoidable for Audi to test its Bluetooth hands-free units in conjunction with various mobile phones itself as early on as possible and as intensively as possible. On the basis of these tests, Audi will then generate a list of tested, recommended mobile phones.

These tests need to be repeated if the software status of a particular mobile phone is updated, in order to assure compatibility.

Due to the strict confidentiality provisions of mobile phone manufacturers, it is usually difficult to obtain prototypes of new devices before their market launch. The regular events held by the BluetoothTM SIG are the only opportunity for exchanging information. These provide Bluetooth developers with an initial opportunity to test their prototypes against each other in order to rectify any problems identified before the market launch.

Otherwise a situation may arise where new production devices are tested only after their market launch and can consequently only be released months later, to the disadvantage of would-be customers.


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5 Posts
Old, but interesting, Article

Enjoyed the article - found this when searching for more....

While an old article, the "Infotainment – the next generation" about 2/3 through is very good.

Concepts discussed include:

- Why MMI technology was designed
- why touch screens are not used
- confirmation that the unit will be software updated
- hints to an internet component
- some info on the underlying technologies CAN etc
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