Audi Digital City Beijing

 

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During one of my business trip to Beijing, I visited the second Audi Digital Showroom. This showroom has “Product Specialists” instead of salespeople, and an impressive live interactive software program. In the showroom, a prospect can feel and touch the variety of Audi cars on display. If the prospect is interested in the model or trim package that are not showcased at this time, he can visit the high-tech large-touch-screen-enabled console just in front of a digital wall.

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A buyer can select the model he is interested in and configure the trim of the car while a product specialist stands by, ready to answer additional questions he may have. Once the car is configured, he can “drag” his creation into the digital wall and, magically, a life-size representation of the car of their dreams is created. He can explore more of the car features and trim by manipulating the perspectives of the almost-live-size image of the car on the digital wall. The impressive detail image is generated using the same exact modeling data that the designers and engineers use in Ingolstadt. Additionally, he can open the car's doors, enter the car to examine the interior, and listen to the simulated engine noise based on his engine selection.

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This showroom also has a design studio displaying the materials for the car’s trim, enabling the car buyer to touch and feel the different wood inserts for the car interior, the different steering wheel models, fabrics, color palettes, etc. In theory, based on the numbers of Audi models, engine selections, components that can be customized, available materials that make up the components, and color choices, there are no fewer than 150 million possible configurations! After he is satisfied with his configuration, he can email or print the car’s specification.

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During my visit, there was one car that caught my attention the most because it is not a production car yet. Audi Crosslane Coupe is a design study showing a new fusion of technology, engineering, and design. It feature Multi Space Frame and Audi Ultra and plug-in hybrid drive. The Crosslane’s trapezoidal Matrix LED headlights, sharp shoulder lines, accentuated Audi grill, and flared fenders radiate its sporty characteristic. I hope to see this car on the road soon.

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Another unique display at this center was the art corner. There were three robotic arms anchored to three tables, each accompanied by a camera pointed down towards the table surface. Each robotic arm held a pencil and it was drawing many straight lines in different lengths and different direction. At first, I could not make out what it was drawing. But after many minutes, a pattern emerged and I could see that it was drawing a person portrait. Art exhibit like this underlines Audi’s point of view; engineering, design, and art must flow naturally together.

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This showroom, which is located in one of the biggest shopping center in central Beijing, has become a fun attraction for families to visit. They explore and learn about Audi brand, philosophy, design, engineering, and products in fun interactive ways. It is like visiting an interactive science museum.

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