Audi Could Be First with Level 3 Autonomous Vehicle
Audi is hard at work developing self-driving vehicles for itself and all of Volkswagen. The automaker has created the goal of releasing its first fully self-driving vehicle by 2021, and seems to be on track to meet the goal if things go well for the automaker. Not only does Audi already have a well-funded team of engineers working on the task, but it’s about to put out the first sedan with Level 3 self-driving capabilities, just 2 levels off from the ultimate goal of a fully self-driving vehicle.
Likely Not for the Public
Though it’s exciting that Audi has chosen such a close goal for self-driving vehicles, it’s likely that the first batch of cars won’t be available for public sale. Instead the vehicles will probably be part of a testing and publicity fleet that will serve to pave the way for future generations of self-driving vehicles from Audi that do make their way out to the general public. That means that even though Audi may meet it’s goal and produce a self-driving vehicle by 2021, it’s likely that buyers will have to wait quite a bit longer before they can be chauffeured around in their very own self-driving Audi.
The Level 3 A8
Next month Audi plans to unveil an A8 with Level 3 driving capabilities. This vehicle will be able to handle some driving situations all on its own, but will require the driver to remain close at hand to take over in case there is a problem or a situation the vehicle can’t handle. Still, it will allow its owners to enjoy a bit of relaxation during situations that it’s capable of handling all on its own. The Level 3 A8 is an exciting step toward self-driving vehicles and will offer a preview into the future where even cooler tech is going to be available.
Achieving Level 4 by 2021
It’s likely that Audi’s vehicle in 2021 will be a level 4 self-driving vehicle. What that essentially means is that the car will be able to drive around and handle a wide variety of situations, but not everything. If the car encounters a problem that it isn’t capable of handling, it will signal the driver to take over, but if the driver isn’t able to do so the car will just pull over. That’s the major difference between level 4 and level 3, and it isn’t until level 5 that a self-driving vehicle will be able to take on every single situation that it’s presented with without pulling over.
It could be a decade or more until the first fully self-driving vehicle is out on the roads, but Audi is likely to come very close with its car released in 2021, and it’s one of the first automakers to offer self-driving technology to its owners now.