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Among the myriad of technological features coming to the 2011 Audi A8, its revised Multi Media Interface system, complete with the new "MMI touch" feature, will also include the first application of Google Earth in a production car.

In addition to the traditional hard-disk navigation system, an optional GPRS/EDGE modem is integrated into the MMI nav-plus system allowing a constant stream of information to be downloaded and accessed from Google. Along with GPS-based searches for local services, users can plan out their trips on Google Maps, Google Earth or through Audi's online portal, and navigation data is analyzed and relayed to all the A8's systems, including the automatic cruise control with "Start & Go" functionality, the adaptive lights and the eight-speed automatic gearbox.

With a SIM card inserted into the A8's MMI setup (or data-enabled phone paired via Bluetooth) Google Earth can provide drivers with a three-dimensional view of their surroundings displayed on the A8's eight-inch LCD display, showing satellite imagery and terrain modeling, along with all the traditional navigation system's functionality both online and off. The integration of Google Earth is set to go live on the A8 sometime in the middle of 2010, soon after Audi's new flagship goes on sale in the spring. Check out all the details in the press release after the jump.

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The new Audi A8 – with Google at the leading edge of Connectivity
  • A8 searches for and retrieves internet content via the mobile phone network
  • Online point-of-interest search powered by Google integrated with the Audi navigation system
  • Google Earth available for the first time in a production vehicle
Ingolstadt, 16. December 2009 – In early 2010 Audi will be bringing the next generation of the A8 to the starting line. The new flagship and its online services further demonstrate the brand's proverbial Vorsprung durch Technik, by bringing a variety of Google services and information to the luxury sedan via the internet. The services will be available in selected markets.

The new A8 has set the bar at new heights with regard to multimedia technology. Its multimedia interface (MMI) navigation plus features among other innovations, a highly evolved operating concept incorporating a touchpad – known as MMI touch. Also included are an integrated hard disk for navigation, phone and audio data and a graphics processor capable of generating high-quality, three dimensional images. The MMI analyzes navigation data predictively, relaying information to the control units managing the automatic cruise control with Stop & Go, adaptive lights and the 8-speed tiptronic gearbox so that these systems can precisely adapt their function to conditions well in advance.

Equally state-of-the-art are the Audi online services which allow the new A8 to retrieve up-to-date information from the internet via the optionally integrated GPRS/EDGE modem in the MMI navigation plus. The user can search online with Google for points-of-interest directly from within the MMI, the versatile search engine accepting such free text search queries as "delicatessen" or "shoe boutique". The results are then displayed on the onboard map or used as destinations for route calculation.

Highly comfortable: Destination planning at home

The data connection enables a further comfortable feature. A8 customers can plan their navigation destinations in Google Maps or the Audi web portal at home or in the office and retrieve these on demand in the car.

In mid 2010 Audi will further enhance its suite of online services with a new UMTS modem. This enables faster data transfer as well as simultaneous voice and data connections, and allows Audi to set a world first with the integration of Google Earth in the MMI navigation plus. High resolution three-dimensional satellite and aerial imagery for the entire globe and a worldwide database of photos and information articles are only some of the fascinating new features. With Google Earth on the MMI's
8 inch LCD display the new Audi A8 allows its occupants to discover the world from above. The Google Earth imagery and 3D terrain model are combined with the detailed street network from the onboard navigation database as well as calculated routes in a seamless integration of online and offline content.

To use the new online services the customer simply needs to insert their SIM card in the MMI Navigation plus or pair their mobile phone with the MMI over the Bluetooth SIM-Access-Profile. Aside from the Customer's existing mobile phone data plan, no additional contracts are required.

First shown as a prototype with Google in January 2006 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas/USA, the new online services can be experienced in the new A8 as a result of a close collaboration between Audi and Google development teams worldwide.