When you buy a new car and you're flipping through the owner's manual, does it feel intuitive? Things are moving in a more "digital" direction in so many aspects of every industry, it's hard to look at an "analog" paper book and wonder what could have been. Some automakers have begun making their owner's manuals available in digital format on smartphones or tablets, but that's not good enough for Audi, oh no; they want to take it a few steps further.
For the 2015 Audi A3, you could very well no longer see the manual on paper, or even in just a digital book form, but in fact through the lens of an AR app for your smartphone. But, hold on, let's back up a bit. What exactly is AR?
AR stands for Augmented Reality, and it's a relatively new technology that integrates real life and overlays it with digital information. Imagine you're taking a video of a NASCAR race and you're looking at your smartphone's screen as it records; an AR application could potentially add "floating" information around each car, displaying the driver's name, the car's number, sponsors, and place in the race, following the vehicle, the information growing and shrinking as the vehicles get closer and further away. That's what AR is.
And Audi would use this technology to explain what parts of a car are or what they do. Don't know what something is? Just point open the app and point your phone's camera at it, and look at the screen. Apparently the current version can identify and explain 300 parts on the vehicle. Sounds pretty awesome to us.
So while we wait for the A3, stop by Audi North Scottsdale in Phoenix, AZ to peruse the current lineup of new Audi models. If you see something you like, take it out for a test drive and go home smiling.