You've invested $30,000 in a new German luxury automobile. It probably wouldn't hurt to learn what all the controls do.
But how many of us actually study the owner's manual before operating a new vehicle? It's there when we need it--and about as user friendly as a multi-volume encyclopedia
in a Wikipedia era.
Audi has developed a better way. They call it eKurzinfo.
The eKurzinfo app allows users to simply point their iPhone or iPad camera at a control, warning light or the engine compartment to automatically recall information about an item in question. Once the app recognizes the object, a red selection box appears, along with the name of the mechanism or function. The user can then access additional information by swiping through screens on their smart device.
Previously, eKurzinfo was only available for the Audi A1--a European model not currently sold in the U.S.--but the app now supports the Audi A3
as well. We haven't had the chance to try the app ourselves, so we can't confirm its compatibility with the current U.S. version of the A3. Audi of America says specs are still being finalized for the A3 sedan, which won't arrive in the U.S. until next year.
The app was codeveloped by augmented reality software solutions firm Metaio. "[eKurzinfo] can recognize over 300 individual elements of the Audi A3--from the insignia on the windshield wipers and entertainment system to actual engine components under the hood--in order to return relevant how-to information or even virtual overlays of maintenance instructions animated in real-time 3-D," according to an informational release from the company. "Metaio's cloud-based architecture pushes digital information directly to the device, meaning the user will never have to update the app."
While the app represents a big step toward replacing the tired analog owner's manual, Audi warns that eKurzinfo "does not claim to contain complete instructions for all controls and cannot replace the Operating Manual," according to the app page on iTunes
The app is currently available on iOS, with an Android version " expected to be released globally by the end of this quarter (except for U.S. and China)," according to Audi Deutschland's YouTube account
You know when we're clamoring for a European automaker to bring both their cars and
apps stateside, they must be doing something right.
Metaio & Audi AG Release Interactive Augmented Reality Manual
Munich & San Francisco, 12 August 2013: Metaio, world leader in augmented reality (AR) software and solutions, and AUDI AG, global leader in luxury vehicles, today announced the release of the Audi A3 eKurzinfo augmented reality mobile application, available for free download on iOS devices.
After the success of the Audi eKurzinfo app for the Audi A1, which was nominated for the 2013 GSMA Global Mobile Awards for Best Mobile Solution for the Automotive Industry, Audi AG has extended the availability to the new Audi A3.
The new app can recognize over 300 individual elements of the Audi A3 – from the insignia on the windshield wipers and entertainment system to actual engine components under the hood – in order to return relevant how-to information or even virtual overlays of maintenance instructions animated in real-time 3-D. Metaio's cloud-based architecture pushes digital information directly to the device, meaning the user will never have to update the app.
The new design of the Audi A3 eKurzinfo app brings the most intuitive user experience with it: using Metaio's latest 2-D and 3-D augmented reality tracking technology, the user positions the camera of the mobile device directly over individual vehicle elements, instantly detecting and returning information on the desired subject. For example, after scanning the engine compartment, the app would return information with an animated overlay showing how to locate the engine coolant and refill it to the appropriate level.
The Audi eKurzinfo app is available in English, German and Japanese.
In the future, Metaio sees visualization technology decreasing the need for lengthy, costly and complex user manuals. Car owners should be able to access information instantly and directly from the car itself.
"After the remarkable success of the first version of the eKurzinfo application, we are delighted to continue our partnership with the Audi AG. We see enormous potential in the field of interactive service applications. In the future it will be possible to automatically retrieve the specific information relevant in a certain situation", Dr. Thomas Alt, CEO of Metaio.