Tag: Audi self Driving
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.
Audi recently showed just how innovative it can be as a company, by developing self-parking technology using scale model vehicles. Through the use of small self-powered cars, Audi is creating a computer system that can effectively handle parking a vehicle all on its own. That’s a pretty cool feature that most Audi owners will enjoy, but it also demonstrates a unique learning tool that can help shape the way that Audi develops new features in the future.
How the Vehicle Learns Self Parking
Audi has the 1:8 scale vehicle that’s outfitted with ultrasonic sensors and a series of cameras to collect data from its terrain. The system is also fitted with a central computer, that can collect information from those sensors. Essentially what happens is that the system gathers up all the information that it can from the outside environment, and it uses that information to make important decisions about how to park the vehicle. With all the information gathered up, it will park the car where it belongs.
In order to make sure that the parking technology works the way it is supposed to, Audi continually runs simulations and has the computer system gather more and more data about different situations. All these learning opportunities are making it possible for the automobile to learn how to effectively park itself with more skill.
Developing a Self Driving Vehicle
While this approach is currently just being used to develop a self-parking system for Audi vehicles, it could be used to help develop a self-driving car as well. The scale-model approach gives Audi lower cost test-subjects to make use of, and it allows the automaker to set up courses and situations more affordably. It’s a good way to at least start the learning process and work on developing autonomous features for Audi vehicles. Everything learned from the testing and research for the self-parking project can be applied to future driving projects as well, giving Audi a good head start toward more advanced features.
The automaker is very interested in automated driving and has been making major advancements toward autonomous vehicles. With that said, it shouldn’t be long before more advanced features like self-parking vehicles and self-driving cars make their way out to the general public. It’s programs like these that make that a possibility and give Audi the ability to run more tests, and to develop automotive intelligence more efficiently.
If you’re a property developer and you’re in charge of setting up commercial locations, Audi self-parking technology could become your new best friend. Audi is working on tech that will allow vehicles to park themselves without requiring drivers to go along for the ride. This makes it possible for people to be dropped off right in front of a building and then go inside and begin shopping while the car puts itself away. Think of it as a computerized valet that you don’t have to tip. So why is this a big deal for developers, three words, cheaper parking spaces.
No More Prime Parking
If this technology becomes mainstream developers can stop wasting premium land on parking spaces. It simply won’t make sense financially any longer. Instead these developers can pick up cheap land on the outskirts of the location and use that for parking spaces instead. Drivers aren’t going to care if parking spaces are a bit farther away, because they don’t have to park the vehicles and they don’t have to walk to the location. Instead they simply tell the car to find a spot and it does its thing.
Developers can save the best spots for more stores, hotels or whatever else it is that they want to put there. The parking can be put off to the side in the cheap land that isn’t good for anything else. This technology will help companies make the most of their properties and will most definitely increase the value that they can get out of it.
While that’s all very exciting for developers, self-driving technology in general could be a great thing for car owners as well. It could make car sharing networks much more viable than before. A fleet of computer taxis could drive around the streets dropping people off and picking them up. The computers could figure out the best people to pick up and because they don’t have to be paid to do the work this mode of transportation would be much more affordable than standard Taxis. It could bring car sharing to more rural areas of the world and cut down on the number of vehicles out on the road.
Not only could strangers share vehicles, but families could get by with fewer vehicles as well. Imagine a car that can drop dad off at work, bring the children to school and make sure that mom gets to where she needs to go throughout the day. It knows the schedule and can make sure that everyone has a ride. This lowers the number of cars out on the road as well and helps families minimize the number of vehicles they need to own and maintain.
There have been plenty of rumors floating around about Audi finally including some substantial autonomous technology in its production vehicles. There is going to be a bit of automated tech in the Audi A4, but it looks like the next-gen Audi A8 is going to get the most substantial autonomous technology.
The next Audi A8 will be fully capable of driving the vehicle around town in standard conditions at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. That may not sound like much to regular highway operators, but for the drivers that go through lots of low-speed commuting on a daily basis the technology would be extremely beneficial. Sure the A8 will only drive itself under very specific conditions, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. It will help drivers become more familiar with the technology and get comfortable in its capabilities. Audi has done some impressive things with its automated technology so far, and the most impressive yet will be when they release a production version of the tech that thousands of people are relying on.
Why Audi Approves Autonomous Technology
Besides for the fact that autonomous technology is going to be a hot seller and that many car buyers are going to lust after vehicles that can drive themselves, there are a few other reasons that Audi really supports automated driving technology. According to Audi automated technology will be more efficient and a car that drives itself will use up less fuel than a car operated by a person. That’s not surprising since a self-driving car could be optimized to drive under the most efficient conditions all the time, while a human-operated vehicle is always going to experience some error, and even professionally trained drivers won’t be able to best well-tuned software programs over time.
Audi also claims that the technology will make driving more comfortable and safer. It keeps drivers from becoming bored and from tuning out the driving conditions around them while operating the vehicle. By taking some of the driving burden away from the driver they have a chance to rejuvenate, focus on more interesting tasks and perform better when the wheel is back in their hands.
The Release of the Next A8
It could still be awhile until the next Audi A8 is released, but since the model hasn’t had a real remodel since 2009 it’s already about overdue. I think it’s safe to assume that this new and improved model will be out in the next few years, and it could be the first production partially automated vehicle out on the road, that can handle what Audi says the next A8 will be able to handle. It’s a major step toward fully-automated vehicles, and it looks like Audi will be at the front of that movement.
Last year at CES Audi attempted to run their self-driving vehicle for 550 miles but they failed along the route and the driver had to take over the vehicle. This year they did the same thing on a Las Vegas freeway to CES but they succeeded with making the trip completely unassisted. This just goes to show that Audi’s self-driving technology, or “Piloted Driving” as they call it is improving over time. As the company advances their technology, the capability of its vehicles improves noticeably and the prospect of self-driving cars gets closer and closer to the realm of possibility for consumers.
A Highly Capable Automated Machine
The current Audi vehicle has what the automaker is calling a production-ready system of sensors and control technology to operate all on its own. This system is capable of driving around freeways all on its own. It can make lane changes, slow down when drivers are getting to close to them and initiate passes that need to be made. All of these decisions are made using a computer, and as long as the vehicle remains on a highway it does not have to be operated by a driver.
Knowing the Limits
It’s pretty impressive that this Audi vehicle can take you on a trip over nine hours long and handle most of the driving all on its own, but there are limits to the system. Currently the vehicle is not designed to handle city or in-town driving conditions. All of the traffic lights, traffic and pedestrians are too much for the system and it isn’t capable of safely navigating all of the obstacles yet. When the vehicle approaches such an area it notifies the driver that they have to take over and will pull off to the curb and sit if the driver doesn’t initiate manual mode within the specified time period.
The vehicle also relies heavily on cameras and lane markers in order to see where it’s going, which can be a slight problem when weather is bad or lane markers are fading away. The vehicle will let you know when lane markers aren’t providing reliable information, and it can tap into GPS information and look at the position of other vehicles on the road to keep itself in the right location. While this technology works as a backup source of information, it isn’t quite as accurate or responsive as the vehicle is when relying on lane markers.
How the Car Works
Audi’s self-driving car relies on a wide variety of technology in order to keep itself on the road and to make important driving decisions all on its own. It comes with a computer designed to collect information from all the sensors and make important decisions. That computer is getting information from four different mini cameras at each corner of the vehicle, as well as a front-facing 3D camera, a laser, and a long-range front radar system. All of those sensors as well as GPS information is used to decide how to drive the vehicle carefully.
While Audi’s technology might pale in comparison to some of the innovations that Google’s self-driving vehicles have made, it’s very close to being released to the general public. Audi expects its driving tools to be included on production vehicles in just a year or two, which could make its systems some of the most advanced on the market when they do come out. That’s exciting news for all the drivers out there that make long-distance commutes and take long trips on a regular basis.
Over the weekend Audi showed the world that they have a good handle on self-driving technology, when one of their RS7 cars zipped around the track at the finals for the German DTM series. During a break in the final race, Audi put two RS7’s on the track. One manned by a professional driver and the other operating all on its own using computer automation technology, the results were impressive to say the least.
Audi’s Self Driving Car
During the demonstration, the self-driving car managed to beat the one being operated by a professional driver by a resounding five seconds. The car made all its turning decisions by itself and demonstrated that a driver isn’t necessary to zip around at top level speeds.
How the Car Functions
While going through the race the car was responsible for making all the decisions on its own. It relied on a GPS system accurate down to the centimeter, but that only supplied the right and left borders of the track, the car was in charge of deciding which path to take while moving through the course. In order to verify its current position Audi equipped the RS7 with a 3D camera that compared its video stream with prerecorded images of the location. Together with this information as well as the GPS borders the car was able to decide which path would be the most effective.
Throughout the lap that the RS7 zoomed around the track, it managed to achieve a top speed of 190 MPH and it moved around the course with precision. The demonstration made it very clear that self-driving vehicles are a possibility and that they can be better than cars manned by humans.
Releasing Self-Driving Cars to the Masses
With each demonstration such as the one put on by Audi people are going to gain more confidence with self-driving technology. It’s pretty hard to argue about the possibility of a car driving itself when you see it happening right before your eyes. It’s also difficult to argue that it’s a danger when the vehicle performs better than one operated by a highly skilled driver.
As long as governments get on board with the technology, and they allow it to be used, it’s likely to begin showing up in the next couple years. The car industry is going to be worth up to 87 billion dollars a year by 2030 according to Lux Research located in Boston, and Audi, BMW, Toyota and a host of other automakers all want in on that action.
Automated cars are no longer a dream, they are slowly becoming a reality. Audi impressed everyone with such an effective performance over the weekend, and more demonstrations like this are likely to occur in the future. Automated cars are being tested in several states in the US currently, and it’s only a matter of time before they go up for sale. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for them.