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Next Audi A8 To Incorporate Autonomous Driving

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On: Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 1:28PM | By: Chris Weiss


Next Audi A8 To Incorporate Autonomous Driving

There's been many a whisper and shout about autonomous driving over the past few years. With the convergence of GPS technology, sensor-based safety systems and on-board computer systems, self-driving vehicles are essentially a matter of when, not if. At least that's the way it looks at the moment--I've seen enough groundbreaking, imminent technologies fail to materialize or disappear after a brief run to have a little cynicism when it comes to such things.

While Google has been doing a lot of the most publicized autonomous-vehicle work, other companies and automakers are researching technologies as well. In fact, Audi plans to use a form of the technology in its next A8.

The A8 won't be chaffeuring you around just yet, but it will incorporate a version of autonomous driving technology that Audi calls Traffic Jam Assistant. Similar in name and function to Mercedes' Traffic Jam Assist and BMW's own Traffic Jam Assistant, Audi's system is capable of recognizing a traffic jam and taking control of driving functions including braking, steering and acceleration.

The system uses a slew of radar, laser, camera and ultrasonic sensors to detect traffic jams. It then leverages Audi's adaptive cruise control system to take over driving responsibilities. The system then tracks the car ahead of you and follows from a safe distance--even around light curves.

This system seems a little like technology for technology's sake since driving in traffic isn't really the biggest problem on the road, but it could help to prevent fender benders due to inattention to the ebb and flow of traffic. It would also take some of the strain off the driver in stop-go traffic and could provide a more fluid, enjoyable commute.

Audi plans to introduce the Traffic Jam Assistant function into the A8 within the next one to three years. Mercedes has demonstrated its Traffic Jam Assist function on an experimental S Class and BMW equipped its system to an i3 concept car that it showed last summer. Traffic-assist systems from the three German luxury automakers promise to be one of the next steps toward fully autonomous vehicles.




Comments

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Stephy21 | 9:48AM (Fri, Jan 20, 2012)

I like how all this new technology that's sound awesome is always built by high end car makers and never by the little guys. Some automotive makers need to get on a roll with making some kind of technology like this for the middle class people (Hint Hint) just saying.


reply

Sami18 | 10:03AM (Fri, Jan 20, 2012)

I think this would be great to have in all cars. It might bring down the rate of how many crashes happen each year.



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