Audi has used this week’s 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to preview its next-generation MMI technology, the German automaker’s innovative human-machine interface which integrates a special touchpad with handwriting recognition as an input system. The touchpad interface already features in the new 2011 Audi A8, where it’s located on the center console, just next to the MMI controller wheel.

For the next-generation of MMI, the touchpad will be more closely incorporated into the MMI terminal--as the surface of the controller wheel in fact. The space saved will mean the system can also be made available in smaller vehicles. Meanwhile it will be even easier to operate because the driver’s right hand can remain in one place.

A dashboard display will visualize all operating steps along the paths through the menus. At the same time, they will also be displayed in an identical structure on the touchpad. Small sensor actuators beneath the touchpad’s surface will supply precisely defined, palpable signals and feedback--the user will be able to literally feel all operating paths.

Audi has confirmed that it will appear on the market in just over a year, most likely in the next-generation A3.

In addition to the new MMI preview, Audi also announced that it will be using graphics company NVIDIA’s advanced Tegra processor for all its infotainment needs. Conceived as a multi-core processor, it generates extremely high-resolution graphics with breathtaking speed, especially for the reproduction of many audio and video formats such as mp3 audio and mpeg4 video.

The Tegra chip also equips Audi’s MMI systems for the future. Thanks to its high computing power, it can represent models of entire cities in three-dimensional renderings--the driver will be able to see the road along which they are currently driving in a photographically realistic representation. This makes it even easier for them to find their way around.