30 Nov Keep an eye on Audi’s autonomous driving project
Every auto brand and many non-traditional brands are plowing money into autonomous driving research and development. Unsurprisingly, Audi, the leading German car maker, is no exception. In fact, Audi has been working towards self-driving cars for years now. In fact, the new 2019 Audi A7 and A8 will be two of the first cars in the US market to have Level 3 Autonomous driving. This comes in the form of the Traffic Jam Pilot, which will automatically take over control of the car when stuck in traffic.
Only a couple of decades ago, luxury cars that didn’t need a human driver were a thing of dreams and science fiction films. But companies like Audi are taking huge strides to make this a reality. And that reality is nearly here.
How do autonomous cars work?
Autonomous cars use a number of techniques to analyze all of their surroundings and make decisions on how and where to drive. These techniques include radar, GPS, computer vision, laser light, and an odometer. Advanced algorithms are used to make sense of this information and identify the optimal speed and navigation path that cars should take. They are even able to identify obstacles and road signs so that they can quickly adapt to a sudden change in driving conditions. Perhaps most impressive of all, the cars are able to work during the day and at night, whatever the weather.
Audi has started to heavily test its autonomous driving system. In China, for instance, the Audi A7 Sportback concept car, also known as Kong Ming, Was sent on a mission to see test the endurance of their autonomous driving concept in a metropolitan city like Shangai. The car drove at speeds of up to 35 MPH and was flawless. It stayed in lane, braked and accelerated appropriately, without any driver input needed.
With this concept, Audi drivers can switch into “Piloted Driving” mode at a touch of the button, take their hands off the wheel and their feed off the gas and let Audi’s computer system do the rest. The steering wheel turns by itself, as do the gas and the brake pedals.
There are hurdles to the development of self-driving cars, however. Apart from human resistance to the change, there are also numerous legal issues, and regulatory hurdles to boot.
But autonomous driving could lead to a safer future
The vast majority of accidents are caused by humans. The figure actually stands at 90% according to Thomas Mueller, the head of development of brake/steering/driver assistance systems for Audi. Self-driving technology like Audi’s is actually expected to significantly reduce the number of road accidents. Safety is understandably a key priority. That’s why the cockpit of the A7 prototype has a huge color display screen that shows the position of the vehicle on the road compared to others so that passengers can observe oncoming traffic, speed, and lane changes and step in if needed.