Branded as Audi’s Urban Intelligent Assist, the project is a collaborative effort between Volkswagen’s own “high-tech think tank”, Electronics Research Laboratory, along with top-notch researchers from U.C. San Diego, U.C. Berkeley, and the Univ of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.
Using current and historical information, the Audi app acts as your virtual assistant – it will estimate the time to your destination, and will advise you when to leave, based on real-time conditions and the calculated importance of punctuality. It develops a personal profile of the driver based on driving habits (accelerating, braking, speed, preferences for parking, etc), continually honed over time, which ultimately improves its capacity to predict driving times and suggest preferred parking options.
When close to the destination (with the phone mounted on the dash) the app will give a visual map of parking options including numbers of spaces available at each location, and can also predict where new spots will open up with an accuracy of >90%.
Of course, this technology relies on being located in a “smart city” (like San Francisco or Los Angeles) which utilises on-street and off-street parking sensors that feed information into a central database. With technology such as this on the horizon, local governments will be under pressure to make sure that they factor “smart technology” into their future investment decisions.