Audi A3 gets augmented reality owner's manual app


August 15, 2013

The A3 eKurzinfo app lets you use your smart device to get more information for repairs and maintenance

The A3 eKurzinfo app lets you use your smart device to get more information for repairs and maintenance

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You're sitting at the side of the road on a blazing summer day watching your Audi's dashboard blink like a casino floor. The last thing you want to do is thumb frantically through the grease-covered manual in your glove compartment to try and figure out what's wrong. Instead, you could pull out your smartphone and use the new Audi eKurzinfo augmented reality app to get more information.

The A3 eKurzinfo app won't actually diagnose your car like a wireless, augmented reality OBD2 scanner, but it will help you identify more than 300 elements of the car and quickly pull up how-to and maintenance information on them. It sure sounds better than squinting at a tiny diagram and trying to figure out what component the shooting smoke belongs to.

Developed by augmented reality software company Mataio for Audi AG, the eKurzinfo app uses two- and three-dimensional tracking technology to deliver information about parts of the car. The user simply positions the phone's camera over the part he wants to identify or get more information about. The app includes how-to information and can pull up 3D overlays of maintenance instructions.

The app's usefulness really depends on how comprehensive it is and how well it's executed. You can get a few highlights in the video below, but we'd imagine it would take some use to really decide if it beats the average user manual, or just Googling for car repair and maintenance advice, for that matter. Mataio sees such technology as one day replacing thick, dusty user manuals, providing fast, precise information gathering.

EKurzinfo sounds like an intriguing idea, but sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones, and sometimes you don't realize it until they're gone. I never had a single problem with the classic metal car key, but my electronic key recently ran out of battery power. I went to check to see what type of battery it needs, only to remember that the car came with a user DVD instead of a paper manual. Electronic keys and "paper free" manuals sound really great – up until you realize that hard metal and books were more versatile, easier to use and cheaper. Hopefully, if augmented reality manuals do catch on, they won't create more problems than they solve.

The Audi A1 was the first vehicle to offer the Audi eKurzinfo app, and Audi is adding the functionality on the A3 and S3 (2012 models and later). The A3 app is now available for free on iOS devices in English, German and Japanese. An Android version will follow in the coming weeks. Metaio plans to push out updates so that users don't have to manually update the app.

Source: Mataio via Engadget

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Sounds to me the car dashboard designer totally failed. If such an app is necessary. Maybe Audi should hire the app designer as a dashboard designer so that the app is no longer required to help interpret the dashboard.

Paul van Dinther

The keyword is "execution". I own a 91' Audi 100 and it is one of the nicest cars I have ever driven and a giant persistent pain in the ASS in to repair because Audi only perceives repair manuals as a sales tool for dealership maintenance. Audi intentionally hid key information and obfuscated what info is provided. Until and unless market forces and governments forcibly compel companies like Audi to provide clear concise and complete repair info they will under inform owners. BTW, this is a very specific fault for Audi, they have a deservedly crappy customer support reputation. Other companies such as Toyota, GM & Ford actually do a pretty-to-very good job of sharing useful info with owners. Again, new technology does not make up for bad intentions, bad publishing skills, or contradictory objectives.


Picture is an Augmented Reality mobile app using which a user point, scan and view objects on top of content that they view via smart phone camera. It makes static print content come alive in the form of promotional videos and animation creating a magical experience for the user which enhances Brand engagement. This app can be used by marketers as a dynamic marketing tool as well as an analytics tool for web analytics, as it helps in keeping a record of the location, tracking number of downloads and users of the app. It enables companies to display ads based on the user’s location, language and acceptability.

Zoya Khan
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