German car manufacturer Audi is set to introduce a new Audi app store for selected models equipped with the third-generation modular infotainment toolkit (MIB 3) in the summer of 2023.
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The Audi App Store was Developed Inhouse
The app store, developed in partnership with Volkswagen subsidiary CARIAD, will allow customers to directly access third-party apps through the Multimedia Interface (MMI) within their vehicle, without the need for a smartphone.
The app store is part of Audi’s ongoing efforts to enhance vehicle digitalization and will be facilitated by an Audi hardware module, the size of a USB flash drive, which has been loaded with an open-source operating system. This will allow the module to provide access to third-party apps directly within the vehicle.
“Audi is the first brand within the Volkswagen Group to introduce a new store for third-party applications. Developed by CARIAD, this scalable solution is a proof point for our strategy to offer a highly attractive ecosystem for our customers. With this solution, Audi drivers will not only enjoy regular software updates but also an even more personalized infotainment system,” said Oliver Hoffmann, CTO of Audi.
Wide range of options
The app store will offer a wide range of apps across categories such as music, video, gaming, navigation, parking and charging, productivity, weather, and news. Among the apps that will be available at launch are Amazon Music and Spotify. The store will continue to grow, with new apps being added over time.
Customers will be able to access the app store through a dedicated MMI tile, and once they have selected an app, it will be seamlessly implemented into the MMI system and can be used safely while driving.
In addition to the app store, Audi customers will also have access to the latest version of Amazon’s Alexa app, which includes new services and additional features such as an enhanced graphic interface and a visual control panel for managing smart home devices.
To use the third-party apps, a data link will be required, which will be established via an “embedded SIM”, a sim card that is permanently installed in the vehicle. In Europe, the costs associated with using the cellular network will be billed conveniently via data volume with Cubic Telecom, with the first 25 gigabytes being free of charge.
Audi models will also continue to support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay with the smartphone interface option.
Availability and models
The app store will be available from June in selected Audi models that are equipped with the latest MIB 3 software cluster, including the Audi A3, A4/A5, Q5, A6/A7, A8, Q8 e-tron, and Audi e-tron GT. The store will be fitted in these models from the factory throughout the European market, as well as in Canada and the United States.
The functionality will be expanded to additional models in 2023. It is important to note that the third-party apps will not be available on vehicles with an earlier date of production.
A joint project with CARIAD
Audi worked with CARIAD, the Volkswagen Group’s software company, to develop the technology stack for automated and connected driving, a software platform, a consistent electronic architecture, and a reliable connection to the automotive cloud for all of the group’s brands.
CARIAD is also working on driver assistance systems, a standardized infotainment platform, and a new digital ecosystem centered around the car.
Overall, Audi’s app store is a significant development in the digitalization of vehicles, and it will be interesting to see how other automakers respond to this innovation. As the industry continues to evolve, it is clear that automakers must continue to prioritize the integration of technology and digital solutions to meet the changing needs and expectations of their customers.