Autoblog’s 2016 Technology of the Year is an award given to the best technology currently on the market, of course. One of the finalists for the award is Audi’s amazing Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster. It isn’t actually all that surprising, considering how groundbreaking the VC really is. By eliminating the need for much of the console-mounted controls for the MMI screen, the driver is able to control and view all of the car’s information on the high-definition LCD screen that replaces the traditional gauge cluster.
If you haven’t used Audi’s Virtual Cockpit before, we can promise you that after using it, it’s difficult to go back to traditional gauges. It allows for all of the necessary information to be displayed immediately within the driver’s view, without needing to deviate from the view ahead. It’s quite remarkable, and the high-definition graphics look fantastic. The ability to turn the cluster into one giant navigation screen is also incredibly useful and looks excellent.
If that sounds complicated, it isn’t and that may be the Virtual Cockpit’s biggest triumph. It’s simple and elegant to use, with redundant buttons on the steering wheel. The View button cycles through different screens while there is a scroll wheel and other command buttons all placed in easy to use and read places on the steering wheel. It allows for rapid changes between screens, menus and the navigation system without ever needing to remove a hand from the wheel.
Audi has been able to pack a brilliant and gorgeous infotainment screen into the gauge cluster of its cars while making it incredibly simple to use and that makes it deserving of the Tech of the Year. It’s hard to choose another single technology over the Virtual Cockpit, but we don’t pick the winner. BMW’s 7 Series as an entire car is another finalist, which will be tough to overcome, considering its myriad of new technologies. However, as a single piece of tech. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is tough to beat.