Audi’s new luxury sedan, the A8, will be the first vehicle to sport a factory integrated mobile hotspot. Shipping this fall, it will have an SIM adapter capable of connecting up to eight devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. Audi integrates a WLAN module and antenna on the roof, using technology from chip-maker Marvell and Harman Automotive.
Marvell has said the technology is optimized for extremely low power consumption on battery-powered consumer electronics, enabling passengers to connect to the vehicle’s network without affecting the battery life of their connected devices. Pricing for the 2011 model has not yet been announced, but the 2010 A8 has a base MSRP of $78,400.
The Audi system, called the Marvell Mobile Hotspot, will support any combination of smartphones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, and gaming devices.
“Harman’s solution for the Audi A8 sedan is a perfect example of using Marvell’s live, always-on technology to bring the car fully into the broader connected ecosystem,” said Weili Dai, Marvell’s Co-founder and Vice President and General Manager of the Consumer and Computing Business Unit. “Marvell’s connectivity technologies transform the car into a mobile office and entertainment center, making accessible everything from productivity tools to passenger gaming and live media experiences. Finally, the car is connected to the rest of our lives.”
According to Audi, the connection to the cellular network can be accomplished by installing a data-capable SIM card into the carphone or by using any mobile phone with a SIM Access Profile.
For Audi, the mobile hotspot is an important piece of luxury sedan technology offerings. Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz already provide a wider array of technology and entertainment options with iPod and USB music adapters, HD radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and DVD- or hard-disk navigation.