Google Earth will come integrated in the MMI navigation plus system from Audi. “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”, said Audi.
On the 8 inch LCD display drivers will be able to enjoy 3D satellite imagery, terrain information and a wealth of additional geo information relevant to the current location: layers like Wikipedia to learn more about the surroundings or Panoramio images to get another view.
In addition, the MMI navigation plus system is getting Google Local search: the user can search online with Google for points-of-interest directly from within the MMI, the 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.
A8 customers can also plan their navigation destinations in Google Maps or the Audi web portal on their PC and retrieve these on demand in the car.
The MMI navigation plus system has an integrated GPRS/EDGE modem that will be updated into a 3G modem mid 2010, to allow Google Earth. To use the new online services the customer needs to insert a 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.
However, all these great features comes at the little premium of €2,900 (German price of the “MMI navigation plus” system). The “basic” MMI navigation (without connected services and Google Earth) comes as a standard with the Audi A8 that itself starts at €89,300.