Exclusive First Photos of Audi's Android Tablet

The tablet joins traffic light detection and laser headlamps as Audi's major tech debuts.

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Following a packed keynote address last night, Audi debuted a 10.2-inch Android tablet designed specifically for in-car use.

Called the Mobile Audi Smart Display, it connects to the vehicle via a WiFi interface. Front and rear passengers can use the tablet to control the car's infotainment system, and there's a full-featured Android tablet experience, too.

"It has been developed specifically for in-car use," said Ricky Hudi, Audi's head of development for electrics and electronics. The tablet is designed for crash resistance and extreme temperatures.

The tablet bowed amidst more details of in-car connectivity and piloted driving at a dedicated CES press conference today.

"Innovation continues to be our guideline at Audi," said Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi's Chief Techical Officer, introducing the broad strategies that Audi—and likely its competitors—will undertake to enhance design, infotainment, and autonomous driving.

Hackenberg previewed a modular infotainment system which promises drivers the ability to update hardware and software, so that a five-year-old car isn't necessarily stuck with five-year-old tech. It addresses one of the main complaints of infotainment system detractors: that cars will become obsolete as their built-in tech falls by the wayside.

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An image of Audi's new tablet on screen at the Audi CES Press Conference View Larger

Hackenberg also highlighted Virtual Cockpit, which will debut later this year on the new Audi TT. It replaces the gauge cluster with a full-color LCD display that Audi calls a Virtual Cockpit. It can show multiple data screens, from speedometer and tachometer to a full color map, and interfaces with an updated version of Audi's MMI clickwheel that will also be found on the new TT.

Hudi also gave more details of the future of Audi's connectivity services, including Traffic Light Online. It connects a vehicle with all traffic lights in a city, letting drivers know how fast they should drive to hit a green light, and how long before a red light turns green.

According to Hudi, Traffic Light Online can cut CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent. It's "fully developed in technical terms," he said, though Audi is still working with municipalities to gain information about traffic signals.

Of course, Laserlight was also on the agenda. Hudi announced that laser headlights will be used in Audi's R18 e-tron Quattro LeMans race car. But according to Audi of America president Scott Keogh, they won't be making their way to the US anytime soon because of what he called "outdated federal regulations."

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