Audi virtual dashboard previews 2017 A8 interior design

Audi confirms next-generation dashboard concept to debut in next year's flagship, using haptic feedback technology

We first saw Audi's interior design future at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, but now the brand has  revealed further details of its next-gen 'virtual dashboard'.

The interior design builds on the existing virtual cockpit tech, instead using three separate screens split across the central dash, lower dash and instruments. The screens are super thin, curved to reduce glare and use organic OLED technology, which is only just making its way into cars.

Audi's electronics guru Andreas Lamprecht confirmed to Auto Express that elements of the virtual dashboard will be "be found in our cars in the next 12 months". When asked if the new A8 will be the first to receive it, he said "the technology will start in our big cars and work down through the range". The next-gen A8 is expected to launch in the second half of 2017.

The cleaner and sharper OLED screen tech, however, will launch at a later date as Audi engineers are still working on reducing heat levels and improving longevity. But the central touchscreens, which control all of the car's functions, will use new 'haptic feedback' on existing LED tech.

When a user presses a digital button on the screen they will hear a clicking sound and feel it through the tips of their fingers. Similarly, temperature sliders on the lower climate control screen give a physical feedback as you toggle them up and down. It's designed to be much easier to use on the move than a standard touchscreen.

The central screen also allows you to select a function and quickly swipe it across to the virtual cockpit instruments. As the system is updated, it will be able to learn a user's typical route and habits while driving, and prioritise information that is relevant to your journey.

The example given was that the system knows the user always phones his wife, stops at a particular fuel station and listens to a particular radio station, so the system is already set up to offer these as a default choice on the move.

Ricky Hudi, Audi’s vice president for electronic development, told us at the 2016 CES show: “We are developing our successful Audi virtual cockpit into the Audi virtual dashboard and creating an entirely new world of experience for our customers. In the future, the entire system will get to know the customer and their habits and preferences, then proactively support them.”

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