Audi connect was not new for 2012, but the addition of Google Earth imaging into the system is an upgrade that was met with nearly unanimous votes from the Technology of the Year judging panel.

By combining Google Maps with a car navigation system, drivers see a bird's-eye view of the world as they drive down the street. Your brain doesn't need to translate a map into real-life images; the Audi navigation system does that for you.

The onboard navigation system combines 3-D terrain models with a detailed street network and seamlessly calculates routes. It pre-loads data for your selected route and then integrates with your smartphone's Universal Mobile Telecommunications System modely (UMTS) module to provide a 360-degree view for the driver – which comes in handy when looking for a specific business or residence in a congested urban area.

The Travel Destinations option from Google allows the driver to retrieve detailed information about destinations, such as restaurant or hotel hours, pricing and customer reviews. On the map display, the vehicle's location appears along with icons indicating nearby attractions (i.e., a knife and fork indicate a restaurant), and the driver can obtain more information by clicking on the icon. The additional information displayed is dependent upon the data available through Google, but that has been very accurate and reliable in our experience.

This feature came on top of an Audi connect system we already liked for its intuitiveness, making it an easy choice for judges, who nearly unanimously named the upgraded Audi connect a finalist in the telematics category.

See Other Finalists: Cast Your Vote