Hands on: Nvidia's Tegra-powered Audi car tech review

New system will be in all Audis from 2012

We dropped by Nvidia's CES booth to get a closer look at the fruits of Nvidia's partnership with Audi – a full in-car navigation and entertainment system with a touchpad for easy data entry.

The touchpad enables you to spell out letters for text input while your hand remains on the gear stick. The centrepiece of the setup is a dashboard mounted display complete with Google Earth-powered navigation. Key instructions such as your next turn are also displayed in the instrument panel, too – so you can even stow the screen while driving along.

Unspecified Nvidia graphics technology powers the system in the 2010 product line, while the new Tegra 2 will roll-out with all 2012 model Audi cars and will be in the A8 in 2011. The technology will also roll out to other VW-group cars.

Nvidia also worked with Audi to develop a complete multimedia engine called Vibrante that serves as the media backbone of the system, called 3G MMI. The Vibrante multimedia engine enables passengers to watch DVDs; listen to music from an iPod, CD, SD card or USB memory stick or watch online video content.

The navigation system features 3D topography of buildings and cities, and real-time traffic reporting and navigation information

Audi says the system will lower power consumption for the entertainment and navigation systems by up to 10 times.

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