Audi A3 MMI.automotiveIT

Audi’s MMI in the A3 features a 7-inch display that is a mere 11mm thick (Photo: Audi)

Audi confirmed that it will be present at the CeBIT fair with its own dedicated exhibition stand for the first time.

The premium car maker said it will participate in the trade fair under the "Audi connect" banner. Audi connect groups its present and future solutions for mobile IT applications.The carmaker will show how its cars are networked with the internet, the infrastructure and other vehicles.

Audi will also provide more details on its plans to improve car connectivity using the new LTE standard. LTE , which stands for Long Term Evolution, is also known as 4G. It is the next-generation wireless communication standard, which, once it is rolled out, willbe significantly faster than current technologies. Telecommunications companies are just beginning to build LTE networks.

Showcasing its new modular infotainment platform (MIB), Audi willl bring the next-generation A3 model to CeBIT. The modular infotainment platform gives Audi the option to upgrade the hardware and software of its systems whenever it wants. That will help keep its technology in sync with the consumer electronics industry, where development cycles are much shorter than in the automotive sector.

Audi said it will show, in addition to Audi connect, a touchpad integrated into the rotary pushbutton controller inside the car. The device, which it first demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, aims to make controlling various functions in the car easier.

The Volkswagen Group premium-car division will also present its concepts for invidual urban mobility at CeBIT. The Audi Urban Future Initiative will feature five concepts for dealing with urban mobility challenges. The company's underlying message is that it wants to a cooperative approach between various stakeholders.

During the Hanover-based trade fair, Audi Finance Chief Axel Strotbek will give a keynote speech at the annual automotiveDAY conference on March 8. Strotbek will describe Audi's infotainment and IT strategy at the automotiveDAYconference, which is organized by automotiveIT in cooperation with CeBIT.

Audi’s CeBIT plans are in line with automakers’ heightened interest in forging closer ties with the IT and consumer electronics industries. That is because in-car internet access and improved connectivity are seen as key requirements for today’s and tomorrow’s cars.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and Ford CEO Alan Mulally were keynote speakers at the Las Vegas CES last year. Mulally also gave a keynote address at CeBIT last year. And Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche gave a CES keynote this year.

Underscoring the importance of IT and mobile communications events for the car industry, Ford's executive chairman, Bill Ford, will unveil the US carmaker’s new B-MAX model at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month.

The official opening of CeBIT is March 5. The fair runs through March 10.

-By Arjen Bongard