Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Audi's Q7 side-assist and K-band POP Reception Don't Mix Well


Last week my wife and I were returning home from a night on the town; I treated Lisa to a nice birthday dinner at Fogo de Chão in downtown Philadelphia. If you are interested in an interesting dining experience, I recommend this venue, just watch the L'Esprit at $685 a glass...and I thought that Louis XIII was a bit pricey at $185!

As we were making our way west on Route 422 towards Reading, my Valentine 1 started alerting fiercely to a K-band source and continued to do so for about five minutes. Its arrows hunted around indicating the source of radar was from the front, then side, then rear, then front again and repeated this sequencing over and over again. I never experienced this kind of behavior from this detector when there was clearly no state trooper in our direction of travel. In PA, state troopers are only permitted to operate radar from a stationary position.

I powered up the Beltronics STi Driver and to its credit, it remained totally silent. Repowering up the Valentine 1, it began alerting to this unknown K-band radar source. By now, I had discounted the possibility that the Valentine 1 was defective and began to search out what was the likely source of this alert.

It didn't take too long to do so. As I came behind a dark gray SUV the Valentine 1 alerted to K-band at full strength. When I changed lanes and/or backed enough for another vehicle to pull in front of me and behind this mysterious SUV, the signal strength dropped considerably.

Hmmm...What kind of vehicle could possibly cause the V1 to go haywire? I got my answer as I passed this gray SUV. On the back I saw the logo - Q7. So this was the Audi Q7 SUV, a vehicle which has two radar-based driver assistance options. One is an adaptive cruise control--which is stated to operate at 76.5Ghz and side-assist--which aids drivers with alerts to objects/vehicles in blind-spots. According to AudiWorld's Q7 Review, this side-assist operates in the 24Ghz range which appears very close to K-band's 24.1Ghz. Jeez...and I bet you thought door openers were bad enough.

At any rate, be advised that if you ever get very strange alerts from your Valentine 1 on K-band that you can't seem to identify or locate in the usual fashion, keep an eye out for an Audi Q7 . You will probably be overtaking it fairly quickly. Once past it, things quiet down to normal.

And if you are considering a purchase of a new Audi Q7 in the very near future, you may want to consider arming yourself with a Beltronics STi Driver or another top-flight radar detector that won't alert to the Q7's radar-based sensors or disabling the system (which I trust is possible) until VR comes up with a solution. I will pass my findings on to the fine engineers at Valentine Research to see if there are alternative options.

UPDATE: 3 MAY 07 - It must be noted, since this issue may be tied to K-POP reception, and to be absolutely fair to the V1, POP reception on the STi was OFF, at the time I powered it up to see if it would alert, as well.

Additional Related Reading:

Veil Guy

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jwardell said...

Similar to the effects of many infinity SUVs that have laser cruise control and are also easily picked up by the V1.

Veil Guy said...

As usual, a good source for information online can be found at Wikipedia:

Autonomous cruise control systems

9:55 AM

Anonymous said...

Good article. My Audi S5 has the side assist as well and it causes problems with my own V1 when driving it. Very annoying...